malaysias pm says move to retain chicken price ceiling based on public feedback - Malaysia's PM says move to retain chicken price ceiling based on public feedback

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The government’s decision not to remove the ceiling price on chicken sold in Malaysia was made based on public feedback, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Saturday (June 25).

He said there was no “U-turn” on the issue, as claimed by the opposition, as the government will continue to prioritise the interest of Malaysians.

“After listening to the views of the people, we decided to accept their input and decisions.

“It is not an issue of U-turn or anything, that is not important,” he told reporters after attending an event in Malaysia’s administrative city of Putrajaya.

He was asked to respond to claims by opposition lawmakers that the government was not consistent in its policies by making a U-turn on floating the price of chicken, only three days after announcing that the ceiling price would be removed.

“The most important thing is that it (the decision) will bring benefit to the people. That is the most important,” added Datuk Seri Ismail.

The current ceiling price for a standard chicken, which was set at RM8.90 (S$2.80) per kg in Peninsular Malaysia, was initially slated to be removed on July 1, to address supply shortages. Dressed chicken has a price ceiling of RM9.90 a kg.

On Friday, PM Ismail said the government will announce a new ceiling price for chicken, and will not be floating the price according to market demand.

His Friday announcement came just days after Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said chicken prices will be floated from July 1, with the end of government subsidies to producers for selling chicken at the ceiling price.

Datuk Seri Alexander had previously forecast that the price of chicken would breach RM10/kg but not exceed RM12.50/kg without the subsidies.

Mr Ismail said on Saturday that Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Ronald Kiandee will “in the near future” announce the new ceiling price.

Malaysia’s chicken supply started shrinking in February, forcing the government to impose an export ban on whole chickens in June, until production and prices stabilise.

At the height of the crisis, chicken producers had claimed soaring feed prices meant they could no longer supply poultry at the existing price cap.