Malaysiakini News

Dr M confirms Putrajaya considering soda tax, cites health concerns

Published:  |  Modified:

The government is considering imposing a tax on sugary drinks as a means of encouraging healthy living, according to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to Bernama, he said the move is aimed at reducing sugar consumption, which is a cause of diabetes.

"The diabetes rate in Malaysia is very high because we take too much sugar," Mahathir told reporters after launching the Cities 4.0 + Business 4.0 Conference and Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur today.

He was answering a question on the government’s stand on the soda tax to as proposed by Damansara MP Tony Pua, who is also a special officer to the Finance Minister. 

"What we find is that some people drinking six to seven of bottled drinks. That is not necessary. You can drink water. If you drink bottled (sugary beverages), there is a lot of sugar in it.

"We want to reduce the consumption of sugar. We want to reduce the consumption of sugar.

"When you go to the hospital, you find people coming in (to treat) some illnesses, but when we check (further), they have diabetes," said Mahathir, who was a medical doctor before politics.

The policy has been promoted by the World Health Organisation, primarily to curb obesity, diabetes and other sugar-related health problems.

It has been implemented by several countries, such as Denmark, France and the United Kingdom.

Mahathir said the government would also revive Cyberjaya and encourage technology-based industries to flourish.

Pua, who is the special officer to the Finance Minister, had previously proposed soda tax as an example of ways raise revenue for the country.

However, following public criticism, Pua said the soda tax was his personal view.

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