11 chicken slaughterhouses to get one-month foreign worker levy waiver

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Eleven chicken slaughterhouses here impacted by Malaysia's chicken export ban will receive a one-month waiver of the foreign worker levy to help support employers and preserve industry capabilities.

The measure, part of a $1.5 billion support package announced on Tuesday (June 21) by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, helps chicken slaughterhouses, which have had to halt production lines and put staff on leave due to the export ban.

Malaysia imposed a ban on chicken exports on June 1 amid a shortage in the country. Exports were halted so that prices and supply there could stabilise.

According to the Singapore Food Agency, 34 per cent of Singapore's chicken supply comes from Malaysia. Most of the Malaysian supply is imported live and slaughtered here.

During the announcement on Tuesday, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon acknowledged that chicken slaughterhouses, whose employees' livelihoods depend on the slaughtering of live chickens, have been directly impacted by the ban.

He added that the Government has been working closely with industry partners and trade associations to ramp up alternative supplies of chicken in Singapore and have also helped affected stall holders switch to frozen chicken or thawed frozen chicken as alternatives.

Koh said: "The majority of poultry and chicken rice stalls have remained open and have been able to diversify and use thawed frozen chicken, fresh kampung chicken or black chicken."

He added that the National Environment Agency has received appeals from stall holders who continue to face challenges in pivoting and is actively assisting them.

Koh also encouraged companies to build resilience into their food supply networks by implementing suitable business continuity plans, such as diversifying and maintaining more links with alternative sources of supply.

He said: "We want to urge all stall holders and businesses to adapt and to support one another in finding new sources, new channels and think about new business models."

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