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Late shipment and lack of supply lead to severe sugar shortage in Labuan

LABUAN (July 14): Sugar stock in Labuan is in severe shortage due to late shipment and lack of supply to meet domestic demand.

The Labuan branch of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has reminded consumers and traders of the worsening sugar shortage, as it works to ‘quietly’ control possible price spikes on the island , already grappling with soaring food prices.

Its manager, Junaidah Arbain, said wholesalers on the island constantly try to bring in maximum volume to meet domestic demand, but often receive less than the required amount.

She said her ministry had approved nine wholesalers here to import sugar from two major suppliers on the peninsula, namely Shah Alam Central Sugar Refinery, Selangor and Malaysian Sugar Refinery Perlis and Johor.

Labuan, Malaysia’s international trading and financial hub, has been experiencing sugar supply shortages since last year as traders, supermarkets and hypermarkets were called in to control the purchase of sugar.

Junaidah said Labuan needs at least 120 tonnes of sugar each month for its estimated population of 110,000, but monthly supplies received from the two suppliers are insufficient and imports have also been delayed by late shipments, which aggravates the supply shortage.

“To counter the impact of the severe shortage, we have allowed wholesalers to source from mainland Sabah to meet growing domestic demand,” she said.

At the same time, she also reminded consumers to avoid buying sugar in panic and traders not to resort to hoarding.