Wednesday, July 24

Ministry willing to help ailing sugar refineries

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KUCHING: The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) is willing to help sugar refineries such as MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd (MSM) get back on their feet, following complaints about poor business.

Deputy minister Chong Chieng Jen said MSM had yet to approach the ministry for assistance after it issued a recent statement saying that it might close down some of its loss-making sugar refinery plants.

“Instead of closing down the loss-making sugar refinery plants, which means a total loss, they can instead arrange for potential buyers or investors to invest in their plant. In fact, there are interested parties who have approached us (the ministry) and expressed their willingness and interest in investing in the sugar refinery plants and upgrade the system or make it more efficient so they can provide a cheaper supply of sugar,” Chong said.

He said this when met by reporters after officiating at the Gawai Raya event in KPDNHEP office here yesterday.

Chong also revealed that the interested parties were Malaysians but none of them were from Sarawak.

“Currently, all the sugar refinery plants are situated in Peninsular Malaysia and this is because in Sarawak, the demand is not sufficient to maintain a refinery,” Chong added.

In an earlier report on June 20, MSM had stated that it might review its position after the approval of sugar import permits to food and beverage manufacturers in Sarawak.

MSM had also alleged that the issuance of the approval permits would adversely affect the viability of its refineries.

However, Chong disputed that statement in a report on June 21, saying that MSM had in fact been performing poorly for the past two years.