ALOR SETAR, The public is advised to immediately report to the Domestic Trade and Costs of Living Ministry (KPDN) if they find the price of chicken and chicken-based food excessive to the point of being a burden to consumers.

Kedah KPDN director Affendi Rajini Kanth said strict action needs to be taken against traders who take advantage of the government's decision to officially end subsidies and price controls for chicken effective today.

"I have also received information that the increase in chicken prices will lead to food price hikes...there is no reason to increase the price of food just because the price of chicken has gone up.

"If consumers find unreasonable increases in prices (including food), please lodge reports...become Kedah KPDN's 'eyes' and 'ears' to report to us and we will take strict action," he told reporters after carrying out a survey at the Pasar Besar Alor Setar here today.

He said a survey conducted by his team at the main market here found that chicken was selling at the usual rate of between RM7.70 and RM9.40 per kilogramme (kg).

Trader Mohd Lutfi Abdul Ghani, 63, said the price of chicken may be slightly higher if there are price increases at the middlemen and farm levels.

"I do not buy my chicken directly from wholesalers, but from middlemen. Even though it is pricier, my customers still buy. It does not matter if I make less profit but they (customers) have promised to buy from us," he said today.

Another trader, Mohd Zakir Zahir, 27, said the withdrawal of the subsidy has not had any effect because there was no increase at the farm level for now.

"If the breeder recommends that we should increase, then we will increase (prices) and if the breeder says decrease, then we drop prices.”

Meanwhile, consumer Hadri Munir Yusof, 37, said in this situation, consumers need to be wise in choosing to buy from stores that offer cheap prices and the authorities need to increase monitoring to ensure that traders do not impose excessive prices.

"Although the government handed over the right to traders (no price control), consumers now need to check the current food prices in the market before buying," he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency