Unfair to remove sugar subsidy

Monday, 4 November 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said it is unfair for the government to remove the sugar subsidy when the company that is importing the commodity is making millions in profit.

Speaking at a ‘Jasamu di Kenang’ dinner organized by Sabah PKR on Saturday, Anwar said that the company that is importing sugar to be sold in the country is making about 20 per cent profit annually from the business.

“In the past during Robert Kuok’s time, the average profit for sugar import was nine per cent out of RM2 billion. In 2012, the business of importing sugar was given to another company and in a financial report certified by Bloomberg, the profit it was reaping had gone up to 15 per cent.

“Now we expect the profit is as high as 20 per cent out of the RM4 billion sugar import. This means that the profit the new group is reaping is more than RM800 million. So why should the subsidy be stopped and the price of sugar be increased by more than 30 sen?

“Why is it that the people are made to suffer when the company makes a profit? The RM800 million annual profit should be used to lessen the rakyat’s burden,” Anwar stressed.

He also claimed that Umno leaders lacked the courage to tell the rakyat about this and that it was only Pakatan Rakyat leaders who have the courage to do so.

Anwar also told those who attended the dinner that the price of consumer goods is on the rise and he was privy to information that the price of cooking oil will also increase soon.

Anwar said that he read in a report that the RM500 million subsidy for cooking oil would be stopped, resulting in the price increase but this has yet to be announced by the government.

On the issue of Goods and Services Tax (GST), Anwar admitted that in the past, he had said that the GST was a tax regime that is transparent and efficient.

“I said that and when tabling the national budget then I said that too. I still have that same opinion now because the system is an all-encompassing one. But I also said we must study it first.

“Since 1991 when I was the finance minister until 1998, when I entered University Sg Buloh… in the eight years did we prepare to implement it? No, and at that time the economy of the country was so much better than now as we had surplus and recorded growth of more than 10 per cent,” he said.

According to him, implementing the GST would burden the people because Malaysia was not a high income country.

During the dinner, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was announced as the recipient of the ‘Ibu Keadilan’ award for her contribution to the party and society.

Sabah PKR deputy chairman Christina Liew received the award and will be personally handing it over to Azizah.

The Borneo Post


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