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Govt Conducts Close Poultry Price Checks

by 5m Editor
30 September 2011, at 9:23am

MALAYSIA - Poultry profiteers beware — the government is conducting close checks on escalating poultry prices in Penang.

State Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism enforcement team chief M. Guna Selan said after the poultry ceiling price enforced during the recent Hari Raya festival period was removed, chicken prices rose from RM7.20 to more than RM9 per kg.

"The poultry sellers claim that farms are selling their livestock at higher prices so they have no choice but to charge more.

"However, we are investigating these claims and have already issued several notices to poultry sellers to justify their prices,” he said yesterday.

He said those who failed to provide "reasonable justification" to the department would be charged under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

According to The Star, Mr Selan said notices under Section 21 of the Act would be issued to the traders demanding an explanation for the increase.

"Although poultry is not a controlled item, we can still take action against those profiteering.

"Those found guilty face a fine of between RM100,000 and RM500,000. They can also be imprisoned," he said.

Guna Selan was commenting on a vernacular daily’s report that the price of poultry has risen by 35 per cent since the ceiling price was removed after the Raya festive period.

Penang Poultry and Duck Sellers Association chairman Chuah Ah Bee denied that poultry sellers were making a huge profit.

He said live chickens from the farm were selling for about RM5.90 per kg.

"By the time the poultry sellers get it, the price would have been about RM6.40.

"So, big poultry farming and processing operations can afford to charge consumers about RM8 per kg but those selling in mar- kets are small businesses unable to benefit from economies of scale.

"They need to charge above RM9 to earn a living.

"Even then, they are only making about RM1 profit — if at all, because of high labour costs," he said.

A poultry seller at the Cecil Street Market, who did not want to be named, said he had no choice but to sell the bird at RM9.50 per kg.

"Of course it has resulted in fewer customers but I have no choice. Consumers should blame the suppliers, not us," he said.