Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today acknowledged that the price of essential goods has increased but said this was not caused by traders.
Instead, he attributed the price increase to costs accumulated at various levels of the supply chain before the goods reach the traders.
“It is true that daily essentials are more expensive now. Traders and wholesalers are not responsible for this price increase. I see it as resulting from the supply chain.
“Take chicken as an example. Breeders, factories and wholesalers all have their own costs. The price is already high by the time the goods reach the traders,” he told reporters after conducting price checks on essential items at MyFarm Outlet Kasih in Putrajaya.
He said the agriculture and food industries ministry needs to cooperate with the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry to resolve this issue.
“At the same time, we (the government) need to seriously look into the issue regarding the involvement of middlemen,” he added.
Ismail said the government would import frozen chicken to enable the people to obtain chicken at a lower price.
“For a start, we will bring in 200 container loads,” he said, adding that imported frozen chicken is expected to be available in the local market by next week at the latest.
Ismail said the price of local chicken had recently increased.
“The increase in chicken price to RM9.80 per kg is unusual although prices had exceeded RM10 per kg before. But this seldom happened because chicken prices normally range between RM7 and RM8 per kg,” he said.
On the issue of fish supply, Ismail said the agriculture and food industries ministry would temporarily stop fish exports to ensure that fish is easily available at reasonable prices in the local market.
“If possible, we will temporarily stop fish exports because it is important to meet the needs of our people. We do not want them to be burdened with price hikes, especially for wet goods,” he added.