Local refineries refute sugar monopoly claims

By LYDIA NATHAN / Graphic By TMR

MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd and the Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd (CSR) have refuted claims saying that the sugar market in Malaysia is a monopoly.

According to a statement released yesterday, both companies noted sugar importers including SIS, Taikoo, Waitrose, Billington and Tate & Lyle plc provide ample competition as they bring in and market a variety of sugar in the domestic market.

MSM, which is under FGV Holdings Bhd, and CSR under Tradewinds (M) Bhd jointly operate five sugar refineries, including a new plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor. The current total capacity of the existing four refineries is two million metric tonnes per year, while local domestic demand is for 1.5 million metric tonnes per year.

The new refinery will raise excess capacity to three million metric tonnes per year.

Both firms said the price of sugar is heavily regulated by the government and is said to be among the cheapest in the world.

“Currently, the ceiling price for coarse grain sugar is set at RM2.95 per kg and fine granulated sugar at RM3.05 per kg,” the statement noted.