Monday, June 23, 2014

Health Ministry mulling ‘sin tax’ on soft drinks

The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — The Ministry of Health is studying a “sin tax” for soft drinks as a way to stunt the rising prevalence of diabetes in the country, The Star daily reported today,

Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was quoted saying the ministry will discourage ministerial meetings from serving sweet drinks, starting with his own ministry.
“We will look at the sugar content in these beverages and see what other countries are doing about it and how best we can implement some of these measures,” Dr Noor Hisham was quoted telling reporters yesterday.
He listed Denmark, Hungary and Mexico as examples of countries which have hiked the prices of sweetened beverages.
Dr Noor Hisham said the report of the study will be received in two months.
This comes as he revealed that Malaysia was spending 4.6 per cent of its gross domestic product on healthcare, with 2.6 million or 15.2 per cent of Malaysian adults suffer from diabetes.
“Most important is the need for a change of mindset among Malaysians,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
Malaysia is already slated to implement the 6 per cent goods and services tax (GST) starting April next year, which is expected to raise the prices of most items.
In February this year, neighbouring Vietnam also said that it is considering an added tax on soft drinks.
The proposed 10 per cent tax was expected to add VND1.5 trillion (RM232 million) revenue to Vietnam.

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