Malaysians to cut back on soft drinks once sugar tax kicks in, survey finds

59 per cent out of the 1,022 respondents said they would cut back on soft drinks while 13 per cent said they would stop drinking sugary beverages altogether. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
59 per cent out of the 1,022 respondents said they would cut back on soft drinks while 13 per cent said they would stop drinking sugary beverages altogether. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Over half of Malaysians surveyed in a poll say they would consume less soft drinks once the sugar tax takes effect tomorrow.

The Star reported today that the poll, conducted by international survey agency YouGov for the local daily, found that 59 per cent out of the 1,022 respondents said they would cut back on soft drinks while 13 per cent said they would stop drinking sugary beverages altogether.

Another 25 per cent said they would continue to drink the same amount while 3 per cent said they would, in fact, consume more soft drinks.

On soda drinking habits, 6 per cent said they currently consume soft drinks several times a day, 8 per cent said they consume soft drinks once a day while 20 per cent drink soda several times per week.

Only 3 per cent said they don’t consume soft drinks.

The survey also highlighted that 64 per cent of participants were aware of the government’s announcement last year to introduce an excise tax of 40 sen per litre on sweetened beverages, which was initially scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2019. This was later postponed to July 1, 2019.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced in his Budget 2019 speech last year that the sugar tax would be on beverages that contained sugar exceeding five grams per 100 millilitres, and juices that contained more than 12 grams per 100 millilitres.

In a January 13 report this year, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the ministry hoped the tax on soft drinks would change people’s consumption of sweet beverages.

“High sugar content contributes to the problem of obesity, diabetes and other chronic non-communicable diseases which is a big problem in Malaysia.

“Malaysian tops the obesity scale in South-east Asia. We are the gold medallist. We also rank high for diabetes and hypertension. The ministry hopes the people will understand the rationale of introducing this measure (soda tax),” Dr Lee had said.

Related Articles