KUALA LUMPUR: The skyrocketing price of poultry in the country has not only riled up consumers but has also become a cause for concern among traders.
Trader Nor Hafizan Abdul Khalid, 24, said the price hike this year was “unbelievable” compared with previous years.
“We are helpless because the price hike starts at the wholesalers’ end. We used to buy chicken at RM5 to RM6 per kilogramme from wholesalers but it has gone up to RM7.30 per kilogramme,” he said.
A check by the New Straits Times showed that the price of chicken in markets around the city has gone up to RM8.50 per kg, while in Penang it was being sold at RM9 per kg.
“We could easily earn up to RM1,000 per day, but since the price hike, our earnings have gone down to RM300 to RM400 per day.
“Customers are opting not to buy chicken,” said Hafizan.
Poultry trader Zahairee Mahmad, 30, also complained about the reduced demand for chicken.
Housewife S. Sivakamy, 43, said she was shocked to see the price hike, but she was still forced to buy chicken for her family.
“My children love eating chicken, so, I have to buy it although the price is ridiculous,” she said.
Nurrin Alias Bakar, 53, said the high price for chicken in recent weeks had forced her to stop buying the meat.
“I used to buy two or three birds a week but now I have reduced it to one,” said the private sector employee from Sungai Buloh.
She also urged the government to monitor the price of chicken to prevent errant wholesalers and traders from taking advantage of consumers.
Refusing to comment on the price hike, Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) president Kwei Yew Tong said such issues came under the Competitions Act 2010.
“The association never had any influence on the prices of broilers and eggs, as they were always ruled by the laws of supply and demand,” he said in a statement yesterday.
However, Kwei added that the transaction between producers and wholesalers was based on a “willing seller, willing buyer” basis.
“Due to the competitive open market environment that producers operate in, their selling prices fluctuate above and below their cost of production.”
In George Town, the price of chicken has gone up to RM9 per kg.
The hike from the previous RM7 per kg has forced consumers to dig deeper into their pockets.
A random check at several wet markets in town showed that the price had shot up since last month.
Loh, a chicken seller at Jalan Kuala Kangsar, blamed the price hike to a sudden increase in demand.
“It has been like this since last month. But now not many people want to buy chicken any more because it is too expensive.”
In Seberang Perai, consumers have been expressing their dissatisfaction after the price of processed chicken rose to RM9 per kg from RM8 per kg last month.
Ismail Ayubi Abdul Rahman, 63, said it was not fair for traders to burden consumers, especially those from the low-income group.
A chicken trader, who only wanted to be known as Isa, said he need to raise the chicken price as his supplier had marked up the price.
“They (suppliers) said the stock was not enough for this month and have used this as an excuse to mark up prices,” he said, adding that traders had no other option but to increase their prices to match.
In Seremban, prices had been hiked up to RM8.80 per kg.
The price increase started in recent weeks and has forced consumers to stretch their spending.
Checks at Pasar Besar Seremban showed that the price of chicken had shot up from RM7.50 per kg to RM8.50 and RM8.80 per kg.
A seller from Bukit Zamrud, Mohd Syukri Abdullah, 37, said traders were selling chicken using the price issued by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
In Kuantan, there was no significant increase in the price of chickens and other food items.
Checks made at several wet markets and supermarkets showed that processed chicken were sold below RM8 per kilogramme, with a leading supermarket chain here selling them at RM7.29 per kg. Reporting by Lavanya Lingan, Hashini Kavishtri Kannan, Atiqa Hazellah, Balvin Kaur, Rahmat Khairulrijal, Maizatul Ranai and Norhafiza Sallehuddin