Dr Irfan Unal

Health Ministry to tax sweetened drinks to combat obesity

KUALA LUMPUR: In a move to improve the worrying state of obesity in the country, the Health Ministry is proposing to tax sweetened drinks sold in shops and restaurants.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, said they are planning to charge the tax based on the amount of sugar that is contained in each drink and the proposal is still in discussion stage.
"We are still toying with the idea and are currently discussing with the industry players on how we can tax sweetened drinks.
"Although there have been mixed response from the industry, the ministry is still looking at ways on how it can be implemented," he told reporters opening the Malaysian Dietitians' Association (MDA) National Conference 2015 here today.
He said that if approved, the implementation will be done in stages as the plan is a long-term one and this could reduce the amount of sugar consumed in Malaysia.
"We will also encourage restaurants to reduce the amount or omit the use of sugar in drinks. Let the consumers determine how much sugar they should consume," he added.
Dr Subramaniam also said that there was currently 600 registered dietitians in the country and they plan to increase that to 3,500 by the year 2020.
"This is one industry which promises a bright future," he said.

Cited from THE SUN DAILY, Thursday 11 June 2015.
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