The government is concerned and takes seriously the issue of rising chicken prices and supply which is currently squeezing all Malaysian families, said Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri today.
He also said that the government regrets and is disappointed with the actions of some companies that stopped the supply of chicken, causing an increase in prices and lack of supply in the market.
Currently, the Government has set the standard ceiling price of chicken at RM8.90 per kilo with a subsidy of RM729.43 million under the Malaysian Family Price Control Scheme (SKHKM) which was implemented since February 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 subsidy has been paid to farmers who are mostly small companies.
As a short-term measure, today’s Cabinet meeting has made several resolutions on the issue of supply and price of chicken at this time such as:
i. Stop the export of 3.6 million chickens a month starting June 1 until the price and production of chickens return to stability (government’s priority is the people themselves)
ii. Creating chicken buffer stocks and optimizing existing cold room storage facilities owned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAFI) and agencies
iii. Abolish Approved Permit (AP) of poultry including round poultry and chicken cuttings aims to increase opportunities for the involvement of importers to provide more sources of supply
iv. Simplify the subsidy claim process by poultry producers
v. Adding and recognizing slaughterhouses abroad to increase the production of poultry supplies
The government is aware that there are reports that there are cartels that control the price and production of chicken among large companies. The Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) is investigating the matter and the investigation is expected to be completed this June. If it is found that there is a cartel agreement, the Government will take legal action against them.
At the same time, the Government will reduce the role of middlemen who have been manipulating supply and prices. The government will reintroduce the Jihad against middlemen which I have introduced in 2014. The National Farmers Organization (NAFAS) is given the role to lead this Jihad Against Middlemen.
The Cabinet meeting also received several views from Cabinet Members on the cultivation of maize and oil palm kernel waste (PKC) as an alternative to chicken feed. The meeting also agreed to seek the cooperation of the State government, Government agencies and Government Linked Companies (GLCs) to provide Temporary Occupancy License (TOL) land for the long term. MAFI and KPDNHEP have been asked to present the plans in the near future for corn planting projects, CCP and so on.
The Government also encourages GLCs, Government agencies, Farmers’ Organizations, and Cooperatives to be involved in poultry farming. The government will study in terms of assistance to those involved. This is part of the Medium and Long Term plans to be drawn up by MAFI and KPDNHEP.
The Attorney General was also called to a Cabinet Meeting today and has advised the Cabinet to adopt 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. Action can be taken under the Act and their licenses can also be revoked immediately.
The Government requests MAFI and KPNDHEP to conduct monitoring and inspection and take stern action against any party who violates the Control of Supply Act 1961 (Act 122) and (Control of Supply Regulations 1974) which provides for penalties for:-
i. individuals – fined not exceeding RM1 million or sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years (or both)
ii. corporation/company – fined not exceeding RM2 million
The Cabinet today also agreed for the wheat AP to be revoked. All ministries are also asked to list APs for other items that can be abolished to safeguard the interests of Malaysians.