Eatery owners worry over ingredients price hike


Going up: Apart from chicken and seafood, prices of several vegetables have also seen an increase. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Mamak restaurant operators are feeling the pinch this Ramadan due to a hike in the price of chicken and other items.

Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar restaurant managing director Burhan Mohamad said prices of chicken, fish and squid appeared to have gone up in the last few days leading to the fasting month.

“Usually, the price of chicken is about RM7 per kg. But recently, it has gone up to RM8.50 per kg. The same goes for fish. Squid has also shot up to about RM38 per kg.

“The sellers give us strange reasons, like the cost is due to the rainy season, ” said Burhan, who owns a chain of 10 restaurants.

Ashraf Ariff, owner of Ali’s Bistro in Setiawangsa, said restaurateurs were not only suffering from the recent hike in prices of ingredients but packing materials as well.

“Frozen meat has gone up. Price of lamb increased from RM24 per kg to RM29 per kg in the last few days. Today, I received a message from my supplier that the price of chicken is up by 30 sen.

“On top of that, the price of packing materials has gone up, too. As my restaurant is in a predominantly Malay area, daytime sales during Ramadan is affected, so it is tough for us, ” said Ashraf.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) secretary-general Habebur Rahman Shahul Hameed hopes the ministry will come down hard on price hikes during Ramadan.

“We know the government imposes price controls during festive seasons. But for Ramadan, we hope there are also checks to ensure sellers do not increase their prices, ” said Habebur, who owns a mamak restaurant in Kelana Jaya.

The ministry has yet to announce the price control scheme for the upcoming Hari Raya.

In George Town, the retail price of chicken is also up. Dressed chicken is now about RM9.50 per kg at wet markets, compared to RM8 last month.

For a whole dressed chicken, it now costs between RM23 and RM25, compared to about RM17 last month.

Penang Chicken Traders Association vice-chairman Muhamad Shaffi Yacob said the retail price had increased between 20% and 25% this month alone, the highest since the first MCO in March last year.

“For wholesale price, it has increased by RM1.70 per kg since the beginning of this month. There was a time when the price increased twice in a week.

“Our suppliers just told us the price of chicken will continue to increase until Hari Raya due to a shortage of chicken feed and chicken as well.

“We assume suppliers have to pay more for chicken feed since there is a shortage. We hope the government will come out with a controlled price list soon, ” he added.

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) education officer NV Subbarow said the price of goods in the markets was quite stable except for chicken.

“We also found the prices of several vegetables, including tomatoes, have also increased, ” he said.

Perlis Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry director Norazah Jaapar said the Festive Season Maximum Price Control Scheme for Hari Raya Aidilfitri would be launched soon.

“We have not received the price control scheme but it will be launched on a date to be announced later, ” she added.

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