The general consensus on the sugar tax is this; it is indeed an innovative way to get manufacturers to lessen the sugar content in their products, leading to lesser sugar consumption. Yet the strategy has a more short-term effect rather than long-term.
The Galen Center for Health and Social Policy again, was one of the first to be forward in analyzing the recently proposed initiative as part of the 2019 Budget.
Chief Executive Azrul Mohd Khalib commented, “The effectiveness of this tax in actually reducing obesity is a mixed bag. Studies from the United Kingdon, Chile, and Mexico which have implemented this measure shows that in the short term, young consumers (13 to 30 years old) who are price-sensitive will very likely reduce their sugar consumption by up to 80 percent.”
“Older individuals and those who already have a high-sugar diets for decades are unlikely to change habits and are relatively insensitive to a price increase. In the long-term, consumers will very likely be desensitized to the price difference, requiring additional tax increases in the future.”
The recommended method of excising duty on sugary products is not at the point of retail, rather applied to the manufacturers. This would make manufacturers bear the tax and increase the products’ prices, or find other ways to lessen the sugar content altogether.
“The truth is that we cannot depend on Malaysian consumers to change and adopt healthy choices and habits,’ said Azrul.
Another matter that could render the tax ineffective is the abundance of other sugary beverages and food available in Malaysia that will not be taxed. “The beverages being taxed are but a small proportion of food and drink which are of poor nutrition and high in fat, sugar and salt.”
“Consumers will switch or increase preference to familiar alternatives such as ‘teh tarik’ and ‘milo ais’,” he added.
This type of beverages proved to be more problematic as it is consumed by the majority of consumers, and will unfortunately escape taxation.
“The government will allocate RM29 billion towards the healthcare sector, which is an increase of 7.8% compared to 2018.”Lim Guan Eng,
Minister of Finance
“The focus for the B40 healthcare screening program is to identify and control non-communicable diseases among B40 households, and the program will be different than the other healthcare protection schemes under the Ministry of Finance.”Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad,
Minister of Health
“The National B40 Healthcare Protection Fund can elevate the well-being needs of Malaysians while also improve existing healthcare services.”Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah,
Director-General of Health