Late shipment, lack of supply cause severe sugar shortage in Labuan

LABUAN: The sugar stock in this duty-free island is experiencing a severe shortage due to the late shipment and lack of supply, to meet domestic demands.

The Labuan Division of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has reminded consumers and traders alike of a worsening sugar shortage, as it struggles to control the possible surging prices “quietly” on the island already battling soaring food costs.

Its director, Junaidah Arbain said wholesalers on the island were constantly trying to bring in maximum volume to meet domestic demands, yet often received below the required quantity.

She said her ministry had approved nine wholesalers here to import sugar from two main suppliers in the peninsula, namely the Central Sugars Refinery (CSR) Shah Alam, Selangor; and the Malayan Sugar Refinery (MSM) Perlis and Johor.

Labuan, Malaysia’s international business and financial centre (IBFC) had been experiencing a sugar supply shortage since last year, with traders, supermarkets and hypermarkets have been reminded to have control over the purchase of sugar.

Junaidah said Labuan needs at least 120 tonnes of sugar every month for its estimated 110,000 population, but the monthly supply received from the two suppliers was insufficient, and the imports have also been delayed by the late shipment, exacerbating the supply crunch.

“To counter the impact of the severe shortage, we allowed the wholesalers to course the supply from mainland Sabah to meet the rising domestic demand,” she said.

At the same time, she also reminded the consumers to avoid panic buying of the commodity and the traders, to not resort to hoarding the supply.- Bernama