It looks like the prices of our favourite fast food set meals will remain the same for awhile as the government has decided to postpone the soda tax.
Yesterday (Mar 7), the government announced the postponement of the 40 sen per litre excise duty on two different categories of sugary drinks to July 1, which was supposed to be implemented on April 1.
According to The Edge, a statement issued by the Royal Malaysians Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said the decision was made after gathering feedbacks from industry players.
Subromaniam said the reason of the postponement is to give time for industry players to make preparation to adjust their products and pricing, at the same time, allow the Customs Department to carry out roadshows and issue licenses to sugary drinks producers under the Excise Acts 1976.
In the Budget 2019, the government proposed to impose a levy on the drinks which contain more than five grams of extra sugar or sweetener per 100 millilitres, along with fruit or vegetable juice that contain more than 12 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.
On the implementation of the excise duty, the government has agreed to increase the change of sugar content in flavoured milk products from five grams per millilitres to seven grams per 100 millilitres. However, soy milk products are not affected by the tax.
“The increase in the threshold for this line of products shows that the government is concerned about the efforts made to encourage consumption of milk-based products with healthier sugar levels”, he said.
Last year, when Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced the country’s Budget on Nov 2, he mentioned that sugary drinks will be taxed after the will of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad.
The 93-year-old premier said that Malaysians are getting plumper and it is a huge concern as many are suffering from obesity. A 2019 study found that 3 million Malaysians are suffering from diabetes and that 16% of the national budget for healthcare goes into treating diabetes and related complications, NST reported.