[This was published in the "Malay Mail" yesterday and I am transcribing it, verbatim, for mutual benefit]
"The Consumer Association of Penang calls upon the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism to immediately stop subsidising the price of sugar.
Sugar should be sold at its market price because it is not a basic necessity and its consumption only harms one's health.
Sugar has been linked to over 60 ailments from cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, osteoporosis and kidney problems to asthma and allergies.
Malaysians already consume an average of 26 teaspoons of sugar per day. Continuous consumption of high-sugar drinks causes obesity, one of the major factors causing diabetes.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a study of more than 90,000 women suggests that the increased consumption of sodas and sugary drinks may significantly increase the chance of getting adult onset diabetes.
The prevalence of diabetes in Malaysia has jumped from one to two per cent in 1960, 6.3 per cent in 1985, 8.3 per cent in 1996 and 14.9 per cent in 2006.
At the current population of 28 million and at the prevalence rate of 15 per cent, it is estimated that there are 4.2 million diabetics in Malaysia.
By selling sugar at market price, the government will actually end up saving more than RM567 million (the subsidy spent on keeping the price of sugar at the artificial price of RM2.30).
This is because the government can save millions in healthcare costs when it does not have to treat sugar-related diseases.
Furthermore, it does not make sense for the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism to go all out to make the price of sugar affordable while the Ministry of Health carries out campaigns to reduce the intake of sugar.
We would like to reiterate that the government should not be subsidising the very substance that is detrimental to our health when the money can be better spent somewhere."
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Twenty-six teaspoonfuls; that's one whole bowl of sugar daily!
I'm all for abolishing the sugar subsidy. Never mind the potential in government saving. If by having gula mahal it will teach Malaysians to go slow on sugar and live healthily, so be it.
I'm sure there are a lot of healthier alternatives to sugar. It calls for a change in lifestyle, and for some this is tough to do because they are used to having their sugar-laden food (read sodas & teh tarik, kuih muih, cakes & pastries etc).
The 'sugar kings' have been making a sweet pile at our expense for decades. It's time we stop enriching these folks further.
Say NO to sugar (but YES to Sugar Sugar by The Archies)!