Sugar tax will not involve drinks served at Mamak outlets and eateries — Dr Dzulkefly

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PUTRAJAYA (April 8): The excise tax of 40 sen per litre on sweetened beverages scheduled for implementation from July 1 will not involve drinks prepared and served at eateries, including Mamak restaurants and food kiosks, Health Minister Datuk Seri Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

“At the moment, we (Health Ministry) are not regulating on those (eateries),” he said when asked whether the tax would be imposed on such eateries as the content of sugar in the drinks prepared and served there was higher than in factory-produced beverages.

The excise tax of 40 sen per litre on sweetened beverages was initially scheduled for implementation on April 1 but was postponed to July 1 this year.

When tabling Budget 2019 last November, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the excise tax would be imposed on drinks containing more than 5gm of sugar or sugar-based sweetener per 100 ml, as well as fruit and vegetable juices with sugar content of more than 12gm per 100 ml.

“It is better to educate the public not to take coloured sweet drinks served in any restaurant. That is the only way to encourage them not to take sweet drinks. Nothing by regulation,”  he said after officiating the World Health Day celebration at the Ministry of Health here today.

Meanwhile, Dr Dzulkefly said the new Bill on tobacco control, which was being drafted by the ministry, would include controls on liquid nicotine or e-cigarettes and vapes.

“The new Bill will underline all regulations and controls on e-cigarettes and vapes, including the sales guidelines,” he said, adding that the Bill was expected to be submitted to the Attorney-General for approval by end of this year.