Sugar shortage in four states

Sugar shortage in four states
Monday April 3, 2006

PETALING JAYA: The supply of sugar has been reduced by as much as 30% from manufacturers to retailers in at least four states.

Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Association of Malaysia president Lean Hing Chuan said the quota of sugar supply to Penang and Kedah had been reduced by 20%, whereas it was down by 30% in Johor.

This followed reports that supply from manufacturers in the peninsula to Sarawak had been slashed by 20% and that supermarkets there had run out of sugar.

This means that if a retailer previously had a quota of 100 tonnes, he only gets 80 tonnes now, Lean said yesterday, adding that it was unclear why the manufacturers had reduced the quota.

We know the manufacturers had asked for a price increase last year but the Government turned them down because of the fuel price increase that was already burdening the rakyat, he added.

Checks on Internet news sites revealed that sugar prices have been on the rise in the international market.

Lean said this was the reason why the manufacturers were asking for a price increase.

Sugar is a controlled item and retails for RM1.40 in the peninsula.

Lean advised retailers not to horde the commodity as it was unncessary.

Checks on outlets of three supermarket chains in Kuching showed they were out of sugar while sundry shops and other retail outlets had no supply several days ago.

One supermarket, which had replenished its sugar supply on Saturday, was out of it in a short time although the commodity was limited to 4kg per customer.

State Assistant Minister for Culture and Urbanisation Datuk Sim Kheng Hui, who oversees state consumer affairs, said he had received complaints that sugar was being sold for as high as RM3 per kilo in suburban and rural areas.

In Kota Kinabalu, enforcement officers are keeping tabs on the availability of sugar.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry state enforcement director Rosli Ahmad said there had been a shortage of sugar in Tawau and Lahad Datu but the situation which lasted for about two weeks had been overcome.

The shortage was because of a delay in shipment from the peninsula, he said, adding that the supply level was back to normal with some 500 metric tonnes delivered to the two districts recently.