KUALA LUMPUR: The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) has intensified enforcement monitoring of fresh chicken supply at markets nationwide.
This follows reports of an alleged "boycott" planned by four poultry companies over the weekend starting today (Saturday) affecting poultry supply at markets in some parts of the country.
Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid told the New Straits Times that there should be an excess instead of a shortage in supply of fresh chickens in the market.
This, he said, was based on the checks made by the ministry on chicken production for this cycle with the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry (MAFI).
"Based on our checks and data available with MAFI, there should be an oversupply in fresh poultry in the markets.
"As of now, based on the data given to us, the production of chicken has reached 66 million for this cycle, which is six million more compared to the previous cycle.
"The ministry has deployed its men on the grounds to check on the situation on the ground," said Rosol.
He said the ministry also found no indications that there were some form of "boycott" taking place based on the checks carried out by its enforcement team at some wet market today.
"We did not have any information on the planned 'boycott' that was reported by the Malay daily.
"However, the ministry has sent our men to the ground. Based on the reports from our officers, they alleged boycott did not take place today.
"For me, the boycott should not have happened in the first place," he said.
Although the ministry has no information and found no elements of boycott today, Rosol said they received a letter from the Federation of Livestock Farmers' Associations of Malaysia.
In the letter, he said, the association had informed the ministry that there would no poultry production from one company from tomorrow (March 22) until Monday (March 23).
"The company could not supply live chicken since there were stocks suffering from disease and that the birds did not meet the suitable weight for it to be sold," he said.
The ministry, however, is monitoring closely the issue to ensure such development will not affect supplies of chicken subsequently burdening the consumers.
Selangor State Poultry Breeders Association chairman Idrus Zainal Abidin was quoted by a Malay daily of saying 70 per cent of members' stock had died from disease.
Idrus had said that this had affected the supply of live chicken in the market.
Rosol also reminded chicken suppliers and traders from taking advantage of such a situation by hiking the prices of the poultry sold to consumers.
He also called on consumers to report to the ministry if they found chicken traders hiking the prices of the essential items indiscriminately.
"The Keluarga Malaysia Maximum Price Control Scheme that was enforced since Dec 31 last year is still in place until the end of next month.
"Under the scheme, the retail price for the standard chicken has been fixed at RM8.90 per kilogramme in Selangor. The ministry will not hesitate to take action against those raising the price of the chicken," he said.