During the tabling of the 2019 Budget on November 2, 2018, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed that the Government will be imposing an excise tax of 40 sen per litre on sodas starting April 1, 2019.
Early this year, Health Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye reiterate the fact of Malaysia topping the obesity scale in Southeast Asia. Additionally, Malaysia also ranks high for both diabetes and hypertension.
According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey, the number of Malaysian adults suffering from diabetes increased significantly from 2.6 million in 2011 to 3.5 million in 2015. This indicate that Malaysia witnessed an escalation in diabetes patients by almost a million in a span of 4 years.
In 2015, the 7th biggest state in Peninsular Malaysia, Selangor, records the highest number of diabetes sufferers at 649.6k patients. However, Johor has the highest increasing number in diabetic cases among the adults, an increase of 197.4k patients from 2011 to 2015. Meanwhile, the biggest state in the country, Pahang, has the 4th least diabetes patients in 2015, with 127.4k cases reported.
Amongst all the states, only Perlis and Negeri Sembilan indicates improvement, people suffering from diabetes have decrease by 1.9k and 8k patients in both states respectively.
With the implementation of soda tax which was set to initiate this April, will Malaysia witness a reduce in the number of diabetes patients in the coming years?