Govt reintroduces ‘Jihad against middlemen’ to fight price manipulation, hoarding

The govt will also abolish the AP of poultry to increase the number of supplier and reduce large companies’ monopoly


THE government has reinstated the “Jihad Against Middlemen” campaign to tackle price manipulation and hoarding of goods, which was first launched in 2014.

The National Farmers Organisation has been tasked to lead the campaign.

Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government will also abolish the approved permit (AP) of poultry, including round poultry and chicken cuttings, aimed at increasing the number of suppliers and reducing the monopoly of large companies.

“Currently, the government has set the standard ceiling price of chicken at RM8.90 per kg with a subsidy of RM729.43 million under the Malaysia Family Price Control Scheme, which was implemented on Feb 5.

“However, the government found that some large companies were not interested in applying for subsidies and wanted the government to let the price of chicken be determined by the market. So far, only RM50 million in subsidies have been paid to farmers, who are mostly small companies,” he said yesterday.

He warned that the government will impose fines on companies that do not apply for subsidies, adding that permits will be revoked if companies are found guilty of hoarding supplies.

The Attorney General was also called to the Cabinet meeting yesterday where he advised the Cabinet that action can be taken under the Enforcement of the Control of Supply Act 1961 (Act 122) if there is any activity of hoarding, storing or elements of sabotage against poultry supplies.

“The government is aware of reports on cartels that control the price and production of chicken among large companies. The Malaysian Competition Commission is investigating the matter, which is expected to be completed by June.

“If it is found that there is a cartel agreement, the government will take legal action against them,” he said.

The PM has instructed the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (Mafi) and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPNDHEP) to conduct monitoring and inspection, and take stern action against any party who violates the law.

If found guilty, offenders could be fined up to RM1 million or imprisonment not exceeding three years, or both, for individuals and up to RM2 million for corporations.

He added that Cabinet members have given their views on the cultivation of maize and oil palm kernel waste as an alternative to chicken feed.

The Cabinet also agreed to seek the cooperation of state governments, government agencies and government-linked companies (GLCs) to provide Temporary Occupancy Licence (TOL) land for the long term.

Mafi and KPDNHEP have also been asked to present plans in the near future for corn planting projects, among others.

“The government also encourages GLCs, government agencies, farmers’ organisations and cooperatives to be involved in poultry farming.

“The government will study possible assistance to those involved. This is part of the medium- and long-term plans to be drawn up by Mafi and KPDNHEP,” Ismail Sabri said.