Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bitter truth of sugar saga

Well, sugar in the morning,
Sugar in the ev'ning,
sugar at supper time.
Be my little sugar,
and love me all the time.

Bernama reported that the Royal Malaysian Navy ship KD Mahawangsa arrived in Tawau yesterday with 400 tonnes of sugar.

Shafie Apdal, Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, was there to receive it and of course crow to the locals. He also gave the usual warnings to the traders … blah blah blah.

The minister claimed that using navy ships to send sugar supply to Sabah and Sarawak was faster than through commercial vessels, which is a crock of sh*t, unless there had been no planning or more probably, no sugar in the first place when commercial shipping departed.

Routine supply of commercial goods such as sugar or petroleum products isn’t the job of the navy. In fact (note 'fact'), commerical shipping is by far superior, more efficient and certainly less expensive - but what the heck, it's only taxpayers' money.
We needed the navy to deliver sugar because it was an emergency move. An emergency move of an ordinary everyday-used commodity like sugar means the supply system had been f**k-ed up in the first place, or, the most likely case, because of unrealistic price control.
Traders won’t trade at a loss- that’s for sure. Malaysia will continue to face all sorts of insufficiency as long as selfish politics interfere (unfairly too) with market forces.
So, we need warships to send sugar to Tawau and earlier, Kuching. Soon we may need tanks and warplanes as well to ensure no hoarding, or to control the price.

We are also selling sugar at petrol stations. We control the price of the former, yet not the product of the latter.

We are controlling this and that sugar production, but we can’t control an interchange and flyover or 24 Tamil schools from vanishing into thin air - 'sweet' amazing feats that would turn David Copperfield green with envy.

We have warned this and that sugar trader on sugar hoarding or alleged price gouging; we have arrested ‘x’ number of traders for the same sins, but we can’t stop corruption within our public bureaucracies including the police.

We are sending troops to faraway Lebanon for peacekeeping when we cannot even ensure peace at home with an adequate supply of sugar at home.

If Malaysia cannot handle the availability of a commonly used commodity like sugar, how can it successfully implement its 9th Malaysia Plan? How can it cope with globalisation or glocalisation?
How dare we say we can manage projects like the multi-million sport complex in Mother England or a high speed train or second link to Penang, when we cannot manage the supply of sugar in our own backyard?


  1. Yoyu better stock up some salt because that will be the commodity facing shortage next month.

  2. everything's for show only. to show that malaysia is "boleh!" ya right..

  3. from the start, i have already taken the stand that the shortage is artificial. sugar is one of the few (if not the only) commodity which is not controlled by a prince of the soil.
    someone out there is playing hantu to open the market to another u-no-what.
    think about it - how would opening another permit help if the shortage is genuine?

  4. That is why Robert Kuok, the sugar king has ran over to Hong Kong.

  5. The shortage is artificial because the price is also articifial in a sense - it's too low. Just look at prices in neighbouring nations.

    Thus there are 2 reasons why there is a shortage:

    (1) more profitable to smuggle across the borders than to sell within Malaysia, or

    (2) not worthwhile producing something with a very low or even minus profit.