KUALA LUMPUR – Stern action will be taken against retailers who blatantly increase the price of chicken during the festive season.
Speculations attributing the price increase to an outbreak of infectious bronchitis (IB), a disease in chickens, was brushed aside by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK).
“It’s mere speculation. We are not sure of the reason for the price increase because we have not received any feedback from any retailer on the issue,” the ministry’s enforcement deputy director Ahmad Dahuri Mahmud told Bernama.
He warned that retailers who raised the price of the controlled food to pocket more profits would be penalised.
“We will wait for the retailers to give us the facts and why they have increased the price. If they did it intentionally, we will take action based on facts and their explanation,” he said.
The price of chicken nationwide has reportedly risen to RM10 per kilogram since Thursday from RM7.90.
Ahmad Dahuri said the ministry was also awaiting confirmation from the Veterinary Services Department on whether there really had been an outbreak of the disease lately.
Veterinary Services director-general Datuk Dr Kamarudin Mat Isa has dismissed claims by the Selangor Chicken Rearers Association that chicken price has risen because of an IB outbreak.
“As at July, we only detected six incidents of IB among commercial and domestic chicken, that is, one in Kedah and five in Perak. So chicken death due to IB is not as high as claimed,” he said.
The association was reported to have claimed that thousands of chicken had died as a result of an IB outbreak and affected 20 percent of chicken production nationwide.
Dr Kamarudin stressed that IB was an endemic viral disease which could be controlled with vaccine injection.
“DVS has approved 14 types of vaccine for IB prevention. Rearers and chicken supply contractors on our advice can use any of the vaccines which have been registered and approved by the DVS,” he said.
He said the department would take and study samples of chicken that were claimed to have died from IB, and conduct further investigation.
“IB is not a new disease that has just emerged in the country,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Tropical Agriculture Institute director Prof Dr Zulkifli Idrus believed production costs and not IB was the reason for the higher chicken price.
“Many factors may contribute to the price increase. One is chicken feed price, which has increased to RM200 per tonne; another is the searing weather, which can retard the chicken’s growth,” he said.
Zulkifli, an expert in poultry production, said the festive season could also cause demand to exceed supply, tempting retailers to take advantage.
“When it is festive season, even chickens weighing less than two kilogram are being sold. Some retailers probably increased their price because of the production costs,” he said. – BERNAMA