MALAYSIA - Consumers need not worry about paying more for their cuppa or meals with the removal of the sugar subsidy - for the time being at least.
Some estimated an adjustment in prices to be made in about two months, with one cafe operator saying he planned to do so only after Chinese New Year next year.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk R. Ramalingam Pillai assured that its members would not increase prices.
"We already had a meeting and decided there's no need to increase prices although many of our items require sugar," he said.
The sugar subsidy has been removed under Budget 2014, which will increase the price of the commodity to RM2.84 (S$1.11)per kg from RM2.50.
Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors' General Association chairman Ho Su Mong said consumers need not worry "for at least two months".
"We don't depend on just one raw product to increase our prices. But whatever it is, we will do it in a very fair way," he said.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association president Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said prices of most sugar-based products would have to be increased eventually.
He said his members used many sugar-based products in their operations, such as syrup, condensed milk, chocolate-powdered and malt products, as well as canned drinks.
"If we increase our prices, it will be to maintain our profit margin and not to make more," he said.
In George Town, coffeeshop owners pledged not to increase prices of drinks anytime soon.
Garden Cafe owner Ang Moew Wey, 52, said he had been expecting the withdrawal of the sugar subsidy.
"We have to see how much our sugar suppliers increase their prices before deciding on a new price for our drinks. We will probably do so after Chinese New Year," he added.
Lim Kean Tong, 45, a coffeeshop operator in Sungai Dua, echoed the view, saying that increasing prices soon will not do their business any good.
GA Baker Paradise operator K.H. Tan, who sells baking ingredients, said he would use up his existing sugar stock before revising prices.
"We will probably look at increasing the price by about 40sen for a packet of castor sugar weighing 500g," he said.
Meanwhile, two traders in Putrajaya were detained by the Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry enforcement on Friday night for hoarding sugar in their premises in Putrajaya.