By SIMON KHOO
PEKAN, MALAYSIA - Malaysians can adopt the habit of consuming less sugar if there is a strong will on their part, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Citing himself as an example, Najib said he no longer uses any sugar in his teh tarik.
"To me, it is illogical for the Government to fork out almost RM1bil (S$0.4bil) yearly in subsidy for a commodity which is detrimental to public health," he told reporters after presenting incentives to pupils in the Pekan constituency who excelled in the UPSR examinations last year.
Najib, who is also Pekan MP, said Malaysia had one of the highest number of diabetes cases in the world due to high intake of sugar.
He said the decision to raise the prices of sugar by 20 sen per kg was implemented for the good of the people.
"Despite the increase, our sugar prices are still the lowest in the region with a difference of about 60 sen as compared to Thailand and Indonesia.
Najib also said that there was no justification for the price of a teh tarik to go up because of the hike.
Najib said items listed under the price control mechanism could not be raised but the Government would monitor the prices of other goods to prevent excessive profiteering.
Earlier in his speech, Najib urged all sectors and fields to incorporate the elements of "creativity" and "innovation" in their daily chores to spearhead the country's growth and enhance competitiveness.
Citing education as an example, he said teachers needed to be creative and innovative to make their lessons more appealing.
"The younger generation is more open in their thinking. They have access to an abundance of information particularly those who are Internet-savvy.
"As such, we need to re-invent our teaching methods and co-curriculum to keep up with the changing times," he said.
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