The unsweet sound of sugar subsidy cuts?

There is now talk that the subsidy on sugar may also be cut in a bid to ‘curb the spread of diabetes’.


It would now appear that there may be more subsidy cuts coming in the Budget 2014. The next being on sugar.

Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam is urging the government to cut it’s subsidy on sugar to discourage a high sugar intake amongst Malaysians. The move, he says, will help reduce the instances of diabetes which is fast spreading amongst Malaysian citizens.

“The number of diabetic patients in the country has increased to 2.6 million or 15 percent of the total population. This is partly due to lack of control in the intake of sugar,” he told reporters after opening a diabetes awareness campaign in the Segamat Parliamentary constituency at the Buloh Kasap Multi-purpose hall, here, Sunday.

This of course, he stressed, doesn’t take into account the many who do not get tested and thus may be living with the disease but not contributing to statistics.

Diabetes is worrying. Linked to many other illnesses including heart disease and stroke.

However, sugar is only one part of the problem. Sugar is present in many forms of food including fruit and carbohydrate-rich foods such as white rice – much of which are consumed by Malaysians daily. Diabetes can also be caused by hereditary susceptibility and other medical conditions.

Thus, saying a reduction in subsidy will aid the rise of diabetes is a tad simplistic. Just another way to rationalise subsidy reduction? It begs the question what other ‘surprises’ are in store for Budget 2014.

Queen Marie Antoinette may have ‘let you eat cake‘: You’re not going to now.


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