KUALA LUMPUR: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that manufacture beverages will be similarly charged and not exempted from paying the sugar tax, said Lim Guan Eng.
The Finance Minister said companies that do not wish to be taxed should instead lower the sugar content in their ready-to-drink products.
“For SMEs, if they reduce the sugar content in their products below the stipulated amount, they won’t be taxed. But if it is above, of course they will be charged. It’s very simple.
“So if you don’t want to be taxed, then adhere to specified sugar amounts,“ he told the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.
Lim was responding to Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) who claimed that many SMEs were suffering due to the introduction of the excise duty on sugary beverages beginning this month, and were forced to increased the prices of their products.
Under the newly-implemented policy, an excise duty of 40 sen per litre is imposed on manufactured or imported ready-to-drink beverages.
This tax, however, is only imposed on beverages containing sugar exceeding 5g per 100ml, as well as fruit and vegetable juices containing sugar more than 12g per 100ml.
According to the minister, most SMEs did not have any problems with the the tax as they could make adjustment to the sugar content.
“It is more of a problem for producers of larger branded beverages as they have to adhere to certain standards,“ he said.
Lim also clarified that the sugar tax was only confined to ready-to-drink beverages containing sugar, and does not extend to drinks that are prepared and sold in restaurants, cafes and stalls, like Milo and teh tarik.