Direct selling of sugar to customers is bush fighting and competing with small retailers
The recent announcement by deputy domestic trade cooperative and consumerism minister Datuk Tan Lian hoe that so long as there are complaints of sugar shortage from retail outlets or consumers, the ministry will sell it directly to the public is an irresponsible and callous attempt to redress the ground situation. It is because of such stop gap measures that shortages of basic commodities occur off and on all the time.
The ministry never wanted to solve the problem and put the delivery mechanism right. How many hoarders and smugglers were prosecuted this year? Looks like our enforcement lacks the will and wish in arresting these culprits. Rules and laws are useless if no proper enforcement.
Instead of finding a long term sustainable solution to this shortage, minister has found stop gap measure to issue license without fee to sell these basic commodity. This measure will increase bureaucracy, corruption and nepotism. Traders are now subjected to more inconvenience and hassle from enforcement officers.
The ministry officials must make most informed decision to improve the present supply and delivery of sugar so that current situation is repeated often. Similar actions and safeguards must be taken to keep other basic commodities supply is not affected. Malaysia must improve security plan for sugar supply in the long term knowing the need and demand for sugar.
Malaysian government is not consistent and slip short in developing food supply chain in the long term. Manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and consumers must be taken on board to develop a long term sustainable food production and supply chain. This is very lacking in the current ground reality. Closing monitoring and ground empirical study must be conducted to find a beneficial solution.
The current shortage is an artificial one that has to be solved by increasing the supply by allowing more manufacturers and regulate the terms and conditions of wholesalers and retailers. The three suppliers of refined sugar there are: Malayan Sugar Manufacturing (MSM), Central Sugar Refinery Sdn Bhd and Padang Terap Sdn Bhd. Besides these three manufacturers can we import sugar if the price is cheaper?