PETALING JAYA: Demand for certain essential food items is expected to remain high despite a modest Hari Raya Aidifitri celebration this year, says Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.
“Although the celebrations are expected to be moderate due to the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP), demand is still there and is expected to rise before and during the festive period, ” said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister.
For the first time, Nanta said, a 30-day enforcement period is being enforced for price-controlled items compared with the usual 14 days at festive seasons in previous years.
“The price controlled food items will cover 12 categories from eggs to chicken, beef and seafood.
“The price control will be for 30 days and will come into force this April 21 to May 20, ” he said when announcing the fasting month ceiling price control list on Monday (April 19).
The items, he said, were chicken eggs, live chicken, standard chicken (cleaned with head, feet and offal) and super chicken (cleaned without head, feet and offal).
He added that mackerel (kembung), island mackerel (mambung), scad (selar) and mackerel tuna (tongkol) were the seafood items under price control.
The price control for mackerel tuna, he said, does not include Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
He said a maximum price was also fixed for local beef in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.
He added a maximum price was also fixed for imported buffalo meat for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Labuan except Sarawak.
Nanta said the ministry will add more items to the price control list days in the run-up to Hari Raya.
“We are expecting to add at least 20 more items to the list.
“The ministry will announce the items soon, ” he said.
Nanta said the ministry decided to announce the list to address recent complaints of soaring chicken prices.
“I am aware of the complaints including those from wholesalers and sundry shop operators who said they were paying high prices for chicken supplied directly from farms.
“We looked into these complaints and found them to be factual," he said, noting that poultry farmers are paying more for imported livestock feed.
As such, he said a meeting was held recently with stakeholders to ensure that chicken prices would remain below RM8 per kg during the price control period.
Nanta warned that those guilty of hiking prices of controlled items would face a maximum fine of between RM10,000 and RM250,000 or three years’ jail.