The recent increase in chicken prices has had a ripple effect on traders at Ramadan bazaars who say they have been forced to raise their prices as well in order to turn a profit.
Yulia Roslan, whose nasi ayam berempah depends on the use of chicken, said she had had to hike her prices by 50 sen from RM6.50 a pack to RM7.
“Chicken prices yesterday were still stable but today I paid nearly RM50 for three chickens,” she recently told MalaysiaNow at her stall in Section 27, Shah Alam in Selangor.
“This is without taking into consideration the price of chilli which has also increased,” she added.
She said she had been reluctant to raise her prices as not all of her customers would understand.
Yulia has been selling about 24 packets of rice each day since the start of the Ramadan fasting month last week.
The increase in chicken prices which began at about the same time has stirred up ire online, with many social media users taking to the internet to air their complaints.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said yesterday that chicken prices had risen due to a hike in cost of imported chicken feed, among other factors.
He said his ministry had held engagement sessions with major chicken farm owners in the country and discussed with the agriculture and food industries ministry about the implementation of a fixed price for standard chickens.
Through this effort, he said the price of standard chickens had been fixed at RM7.90 for the 2021 Aidilfitri Festive Season Maximum Price Control Scheme which would run from April 21 until May 20, compared to RM7.50 last year.
Rizal Mohd, a trader at the Alam Megah Ramadan bazaar in Shah Alam, said he had decided to absorb the increase in cost for his food in order to maintain his current price of RM8 per helping.
“I have to maintain my prices as I don’t want to lose my regular customers,” he said. “They will surely ask why my prices suddenly went up.”
It’s not just the prices of chicken that have risen. The cucumbers which he uses to garnish his rice dishes have also increased in price – from RM2.50 per kg to RM5, according to his calculations.
For traders who buy their poultry in bulk, the situation is better.
Siti Zaleha Harun, who operates a stall at Putra Heights in Subang Jaya, said she buys between 50 and 100 chickens a day.
“I pay RM7.90 to RM8.90 per bird, depending on the amount I buy that day,” she said.
“This way, I can maintain the price of my food because I am not affected by the market fluctuations.”