Many cry foul over spiralling chicken prices

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 03 May 2011

PETALING JAYA: The recent rise in chicken prices has been hard on both consumers and retailers, with prices for whole chicken going as high as RM8.50 per kilo here.

“Prices have been going up sharply over the last month. Now a whole chicken costs around RM14,” landscape designer Juliana Che Jusoh, 31, said.

She said prices were even higher during festive seasons like last Chinese New Year, a whole chicken costing up to RM19 then.

Chicken seller Azahari Hasan, 40, said price control for chicken was only during festive months when demand increased.

“But if suppliers suddenly hike prices, we can call the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to complain,” Azahari said.

Another chicken seller Tan Swe Wan said they had no choice but to follow suit when the chicken suppliers raised prices.

“Suppliers are selling whole chicken at RM6.80 per kilo, while I sell it at RM8.50. I only make around 30% profit.

“It’s difficult to compete against hypermarkets as they buy from suppliers in bulk and can easily undercut our prices,” Tan said.

Checks by The Star at several outlets here showed that the price of dressed chickens ranged from RM8 to RM8.50 in wet markets and around RM6.30 at a well-known Mutiara Damansara hypermarket.

“Hypermarkets may be cheaper, but I prefer going to the local wet market as it is convenient,” said Mohinder Kaur, 69, a long-time customer at the TTDI market.

Employees at See Lap Seng, a poultry supplier, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry officers regularly checked prices at the market to ensure sellers set reasonable prices.

“We also have to send in our weighing scales to the ministry every six months to prove that our scales are not rigged,” she said.

Fomca secretary-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah said product price fluctuations were a constant as it was a way for wholesalers to maximise their profits.

“They may use reasons like rains or floods to hike prices. It is the responsibility of consumers to protect their interest by stopping or reducing purchases.

“As chicken meat is not a price controlled item, raising the price would not be an offence,” said Muhammad Sha’ani.

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