Drop in price of sugar does not guarantee reduce in price of food and drinks

Amira Eizan Azman and Asmah Rusman

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) does not guarantee a fall in prices of food and drinks following the drop in the price of granulated sugar from Sept 1.

Presma president Ayoob Khan Muhamad Yakub said although the price of granulated sugar is reduced by 10 cents, they had to take into account the rise in prices of other items.

“We can’t determine the price reduction of food and beverage as most of it involves a lot of ingredients, not only sugar.

“For example, how can eatery operators lower the price of ‘teh tarik’ if sweet condensed milk prices are up by 10 cents,” he said.

He also said that Presma would announce a list of food and beverage prices for eatery operators registered under the association as a guide.

“Food and beverage prices also vary by region, prices in cities a bit higher than rural areas. Therefore we need to wait until Sept 1 to see the goods that are experiencing price changes either up or down,” he said.

Presma’s views was agreed by the deputy president of the Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman who believes the drop in sugar prices will not determine a drop of food and beverage prices.

He said that by Sept 1 there will be an increase and decrease in the prices of goods, effects of the Sales and Service Tax (SST) implementation.

“We expect food and beverage prices to be at a stable level despite price changes on other items because we are worried if everything goes up then consumers will be burdened,” he said.

“To control the rise in food and beverage prices, the government through the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) has to control prices at the manufacturer or producer level.”

Malaysian Islamic Consumer Association (PPIM) lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said the decline in the price of granulated sugar should not be used as a basis for consuming sweet foods and beverages.

“The government needs to educate consumers that even when sugar prices go down, they should not consume more than necessary.

“Food and beverage pricing depends on the owners of restaurants. Ethical traders will be more responsible and not take advantage of sugar price for increasing food and beverages prices“, he added.

The price reduction was announced yesterday by Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution as the government was sensitive to the high cost of living issues faced by the people.

Until August this year, the sugar prices in Malaysia were among the lowest in the Asian region. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd