The price ceiling control for chicken and chicken eggs and the subsidies for palm cooking oil in bottles of two, three and five kilogrammes will not be continued from July 1, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said today.
In a press conference after chairing an engagement session with stakeholders in the poultry industry in Putrajaya, Nanta said the move was to ensure that the supply of food in the market was more stable and that prices would be stabilised in the long run.
“Chicken prices will be floated and will depend on market forces. The needy group will be assisted later with targeted financial aid,” he said, adding that details on the financial aid would be announced by the finance ministry.
Currently, the government sets the maximum retail price of chicken and eggs in the peninsula at RM8.90 per kg for standard chicken and RM9.90 per kg for super whole chicken (slaughtered and cleaned without legs, head, liver and gizzards).
Earlier, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that effective July 1, Putrajaya would stop giving subsidies to poultry farmers. Following this, the farmers had reportedly voiced hope that the government would float the price of chicken.
Nanta said that the subsidy for cooking oil in 1kg polybag packages offered to consumers at RM2.50 per packet would continue.
On the abolition of the palm cooking oil subsidy in bottled packaging, he said the subsidies for the goods had reached RM20 million a month.
“This was a temporary programme and should have been implemented for three months but it went on until today.
“The government feels it is time to abolish it and focus more on helping the needy,” he said.
The government had previously set a maximum retail price for palm cooking oil in bottle packaging effective Aug 1 last year, with the assurance that consumers would be able to buy cooking oil at below RM30 for a 5kg bottle.
According to the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry, the maximum retail price for palm cooking oil in 5kg bottles was RM29.70 per bottle. The price of 1kg bottles was RM6.70; 2kg, RM12.70; and 3kg, RM18.70.
At the engagement session today, Nanta said the poultry industry players had assured that the price of chicken would not drastically increase.
“The industry has given its commitment to assist the government in ensuring that consumers will be able to get supplies of necessities, especially chicken, at reasonable and stable prices,” he said.
He added that his ministry would act in accordance with the rules against those who take advantage of the situation to excessively raise the price of goods.
“The ministry will not hesitate to act against industry players if they violate the existing anti-profiteering regulations,” he said.
When asked about the flour subsidy, he said it would continue for now.