Malaysia chicken sellers openly flouting fixed prices, claims consumers' association

A survey by the Consumers' Association of Penang in five markets found chicken being sold above the prices fixed by the government. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Chicken sellers are selling chicken between RM10.50 (S$3.33) and RM11 per kg, openly flouting the fixed price set by the government at RM9.40 per kg, claims the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP).

CAP education officer NV Subbarow said a survey by the association on five markets in Penang showed chicken being sold above the prices fixed by the government.

"Although a few of them have written the old price on the notice board, they are selling the chicken openly at RM11 per kg, with at least one selling at RM12 per kg," he said on Friday (July 1).

Mr Subbarow said there seemed to be ample supply of chicken in the market compared with complaints earlier by traders that there was a shortage.

"Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry enforcement officers should do their rounds at these markets."

He said kampung chickens were being sold between RM20 and RM22 per kg.

"The rise in essential food products such as cooking oil and eggs has also caused distress to many families and the government should take necessary measures to control the prices of these goods.

Malaysia's chicken supply first started shrinking in February, with producers claiming that soaring costs meant they could no longer supply poultry at the existing price cap.

The cost of imported livestock feed, which has risen by 70 per cent since the war in Ukraine started, is the main factor driving up production costs, especially with the heavily weakened ringgit.

The government had previously capped the price of standard chicken at RM8.90 per kg and the price of dressed chicken at RM9.90 per kg since February.

The cap was set to be lifted on July 1, but a public uproar saw the decision being scrapped.

The new ceiling price of RM9.40 per kg was introduced on Friday.

Penang Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry enforcement chief Mogan Arumugam said CAP should provide details of the market surveyed for the enforcement unit to take action.

"We will not allow traders to flout the law, but can only take action effectively if details are provided.

"Nevertheless, we will investigate CAP claims of the high chicken prices," added Mr Mogan.

Meanwhile in Johor, eight businesses have been issued compound notices for various offences related to the sale of chickens, eggs and cooking oil.

State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry director Mohd Hairul Anuar Bohro said a total of 1,079 premises including retailers, suppliers and manufacturers have been subjected to spot checks since June 23, as part of the ministry's efforts to weed out those who violated the law.

"During the operations period, we received eight complaints and our personnel conducted investigations and issued compound notices to them on the spot worth a total amount of RM4,500.

"Strict actions will be taken against any retailers who sell controlled items beyond the ceiling price set by the government, fail to visibly display the price of their as well as for failing to place special pink price tags on the controlled items," he said in a statement on Friday.

The compound notices were issued under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 and the Control of Supplies Act 1961.

He added that the ministry has not received any complaints in Johor so far regarding the new price cap of RM9.40 per kg.

"The chicken, eggs and cooking oil operation is ongoing until July 31, with the objective of ensuring the stable supply of the items.

"We also want to make sure the traders are not hoarding the controlled items and essential goods during this period," said Mr Mohd Hairul.

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