Consumers relieved over chicken ceiling price

They are grateful and satisfied to find many wet markets and supermarkets slashing the price of chicken

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pics by NUR HANANI AZMAN

CONSUMERS are breathing a sigh of relief after learning that the ceiling price of standard chicken has been lowered by 20 sen to RM8.90 per kg, which is in effect from Feb 5 to June 5.

They were grateful and satisfied to find many wet markets and supermarkets slashing the price of chicken, which is one of the most consumed sources of protein.

Checks by The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) at Pasar Datuk Keramat, Kuala Lumpur (KL) yesterday, saw several people queuing up at a few chicken stalls, where the sellers were complying with the ceiling price and displaying the RM8.90 per kg on their boards.

Hawker, Norliya Amri, 32, was happy with the 20 sen reduction because chicken is one of the main goods sold at her stall.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has slowed the pace and changed the lifestyle for many consumers. I hope it (the price) will stay that way so that consumers would not be further burdened by the cost of living.

“I believe that the government will put more effort into ensuring that goods and services remain affordable,” she told TMR.

A public sector worker who only wanted to be known as Shah, whose sons are picky eaters, said 40% of his grocery spending is for chicken.

“Although the price drop is not that big, it still makes a difference in my monthly budget. I really hope the government will continue to do their best to help the people,” he said.

Bitter Sweet Cafe owner, Mohsein was also thankful for the current chicken price, although the decline is not much.

“Alhamdulillah, I can still maintain the quality and quantity of the dishes sold at my cafe,” he said, who just started his business last week.

Located at Wangsa Maju in KL, Bitter Sweet Cafe offers various menu items including its signature Salted Egg Buttermilk Chicken dish which is served with rice or pasta.

According to a chicken seller who requested anonymity, chicken prices went up mainly because of the cost of production following the rise in prices of chicken feed ingredients including corn, soybean and crude palm oil.

“It was not our intention to sell chicken at high prices, but we did not have a choice. Who wants to sell but at the same time lose money?” the seller told TMR.

The country is currently undergoing a shortage of chicken due to local production failing to cope with demand.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said proactive measures are needed to ensure that the price of chicken remains affordable while at the same time, the poultry industry will not be affected and supply remains stable.

“The government would also provide subsidies to ensure the price of goods is controlled as per the implementation of the maximum price scheme during festivities.

“Details of the subsidy will be done by the national cost of living task force led by the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry and will be carried out until prices are stabilised,” he said in a statement on Jan 31 after chairing the National Council on Cost of Living (NACCOL) meeting.

In addition to this, the price of eggs would remain at the same rate as under the maximum price scheme, also to be in effect until June.

Meanwhile, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the government’s intervention to set the maximum retail price for standard chicken at RM8.90 can ensure stability in the prices of chicken and chicken-related food items.

If the government did not do so, he said, the retail price of chicken at this time would exceed RM10 per kg following the increase in the cost of poultry farming by 70%.

Nanta Linggi explained that this was the third time the price of chicken was reduced after it was fixed at RM9.50 per kg during the Deepavali celebration; RM9.30 during the Malaysian Family Maximum Price Scheme from Dec 7 to 31, 2021; and RM9.10 from Feb 1 to 4.

“The new retail price of chicken is covered through government subsidy until chicken production costs become stable. The ministry is always supportive of the government’s proactive measures to ensure that the National Food Security Policy was always guaranteed in terms of supply as well as to avoid price hikes that are burdensome to the people.

“The outcome of the Implementation Task Force Meeting on the longterm action plan which will be chaired by the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry soon would be presented at the next NACCOL meeting,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam president Datuk Seri Dr Jacob George welcomed the ceiling price as it will reduce the burden of consumers.

“However, I believe a ceiling price is only a short-term measure, so the government needs to look for a long-term solution to fix our broken food system.

“The next festive season will be Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which is only a few months away. The government must start to look at the real issue from now,” he told TMR.

George stressed that it is time to learn from Singapore, which improved its position in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) at 15th last year with the highest score of 100% in agricultural import tariffs, food safety net programmes and food safety and access to policy commitment.

“Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

“Over the coming decades, a changing climate, growing global population, rising food prices, and environmental stressors will have significant yet uncertain impacts on food security,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has been ranked 39th out of 113 countries in the GFSI by The Economist Intelligence Unit for 2021.