CAMPBELL Street market in George Town should be turned into a hi-tech poultry slaughterhouse for Penang island, Tanjung MCA division chairman Loke Poh Chye suggested.
Loke said it would help to satisfy demand for fresh chicken on the island without incurring additional cost to traders since there are no slaughterhouses on the island.
“Since chickens and ducks were previously slaughtered here, I propose the area be reserved for slaughtering activities using high-tech machines.
“MBPP should then provide free delivery using lorries equipped with refrigeration to distribute the dressed poultry to shops and restaurants.
“That way, we will achieve a win-win situation in which the council performs its duty and social responsibility while dressed poultry can be delivered fresh, ” said Loke at a press conference outside Campbell Street market on Friday.
Loke said if the system is too expensive, the state can negotiate with finance companies for loans.
“As high-tech equipment can be expensive, we can start with rentals or hire-purchase.
“It depends on the state’s negotiation with finance firms, ” he said.
Loke said although there are 12 slaughterhouses on the mainland, only four have the Veterinary Health Mark and none are on the island.
“I wish to remind the council that if it wants to follow Local Government Act 1976, there are provisions that require a slaughterhouse to be set up here.
“The council can be challenged in court and should not be setting up the Act and threatening traders that action will be taken.
“Since we do not have a slaughterhouse, the council should not take action on traders without chillers because it is the government’s duty to assist, ” he said.
He added that MCA has the Belt and Road Bureau to bring in modern technology from China.
“In the era of 5G and artificial intelligence, I’m rather disappointed that the state and politicians are still talking about ordinances introduced in 1976, which are now history.
“The rules are outdated. If everybody stays the same, then how do we develop and enjoy higher income?
“I hope with support of the people, the Belt and Road Initiative will help to connect us, ” he said.
Loke expects the use of high technology in Campbell Street market, which is in the heritage enclave, to attract tourists.
In February last year, it was reported that poultry slaughtering would not be allowed at all wet markets and hawker centres on Penang island from October this year.
Under a new policy, traders are required to instal chillers at poultry stalls in markets to maintain the freshness of the chickens at temperatures of between 0°C and 4°C.
Otherwise, they could get their supply from a centralised storage and distribution centre.
The new policy received various objections and MBPP has deferred enforcement of the policy for poultry traders to instal chillers but stressed that the chillers must be installed by the end of May.
Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) stopped poultry slaughtering in wet markets in October 1991.
The Local Government and Housing Ministry had implemented a policy to stop all poultry slaughtering activities in wet markets back in 2006.