PETALING JAYA: Retail king Ameer Ali Mydin has welcomed the government’s decision to maintain the ban on chicken exports for another month or two, but wants Putrajaya to also tackle the current shortage of eggs in the local market.
The managing director of the Mydin retail chain said the “massive shortage” of eggs in the domestic market was a more pressing issue at the moment than the supply of chicken.
He told FMT that he has been highlighting the egg shortage over the past three months but Putrajaya did not seem to be dealing with the problem.
“We are only getting 50% of supplies,” he said. “There is a need to tackle this egg shortage immediately. The government is already subsidising chicken eggs, so either the subsidy is not enough or a cartel is controlling it.”
He said there was an adequate supply of chicken in Malaysia but not an oversupply as reported recently.
Ameer agreed with the export ban remaining in place for another month or two. He said the price of chicken had gone up twice over the past two weeks, even by 30 sen a kg just last week. The supply and price situation was still unstable.
“Since the government is still subsidising chicken, we cannot be exporting at the moment. It’s better for us to monitor until the selling prices are down to about RM7 per kg just like before the shortage.
“My fear is that if the government removes the export ban, prices will shoot up.”
On Saturday, Ismail said Putrajaya would wait another month or two before lifting the ban on chicken exports to ensure that the domestic supply was sufficient and prices were stable.
Chicken exports were banned from June 1 in the midst of a poultry supply shortage.
Ameer said that before the shortage, the price of poultry was around RM6.50 to RM6.90 per kg. After that, the official ceiling price was set at RM8.90 and this was later raised to RM9.40.
The retail ceiling price of Grade A chicken eggs was set at 45 sen each, Grade B at 43 sen and Grade C at 41 sen.
Geoffrey Williams, an economist at the Malaysia University of Science and Technology, said chicken prices had yet to stabilise domestically which meant waiting two months before lifting the export ban was a good move.
He told FMT that the chicken feed price had been declining recently even as poultry suppliers benefitted from subsidies.
Hence he saw a supply side recovery that should result in a stable supply, lower prices and no need for further subsidies. “The policy did its job.”
However, Jeffrey Ng, adviser to the Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia, warned that prolonging the export ban would increase the nation’s chances of losing market share, particularly to Singapore.
He also hoped that Putrajaya would stick to its decision once it decides on lifting the ban instead of making an about turn, as this would help poultry farmers plan ahead.