Malaysia is set to introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks and juices as of April next year. The announcement was made when finance minister Lim Guan Eng unveiled the country’s budget for 2019. The tax will add an additional 10 cents to fizzy drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml and juices that have more than 12g of sugar per 100ml.
The idea of adding a sugar tax was first mentioned back in August when Malaysia’s prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hinted that a tax might be implemented to help combat the country’s increasing obese epidemic.
The World Health Organisation has welcomed the change stating that the decision has both health and fiscal benefits. “A tax on sugary drinks is not a silver bullet, and it is certainly not the only measure needed to address the obesity crisis. However, it would have a direct impact on the consumption of sugary drinks,” said a spokesperson for the organisation.
According to the World Health Organisation around 36 countries are considering or have already implemented a sugar tax on beverages, including Brunei, Mexico, Thailand, France, UK and Saudi Arabia.