KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Local supermarket franchise Mydin Mohamed Holdings Berhad has urged the government to encourage the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to approve more halal chicken suppliers.
Mydin managing director Ameer Ali Mydin told news portal The Malaysian Insight (TMI) that the government’s abolishment of approved permits (AP) for poultry imports will not matter for grocery traders unless the move is taken.
“Our problem now is that even though the government has removed APs for chicken imports, there are other obstacles, namely restrictions on halal certificates for the abattoirs or chicken processing plants overseas.
“So even though the government has lifted AP conditions, there are not many foreign suppliers that have halal certification, or that are recognised by Jakim,” he was quoted as saying.
The report mentioned that only seven Thai chicken suppliers have been approved by Jakim, and such a situation will lead to 'chicken cartels' or groups of big suppliers having the power to fix prices.
He also told Singapore-based daily The Straits Times that said cartels are pressuring the government to increase prices by hoarding chicken supplies, and urged Jakim not to make obtaining halal certification difficult for foreign suppliers.
“I urge Jakim not to burden the people. We are in a situation where we need to ensure enough food supply, and we want it to be halal, but don’t trouble the public by coming up with restrictions.
“Jakim can recognise the halal certificates of companies that have already been approved by Saudi Arabia, which is an Islamic country. Let’s be efficient about the situation,” Ameer added.
Three days ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced a few temporary measures to overcome the issues of chicken shortage including halting its export of 3.6 million chickens a month beginning June 1, 2022 until the prices and stock of chicken in the country stabilises.
He also announced that the government would look into creating a buffer stock of chicken and optimising cold storage facilities that are owned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries.
Besides that, the prime minister also announced the abolishment of approved permits of poultry to increase opportunities for the involvement of importers to provide more sources of supply, simplify the subsidy claim process for chicken farmers, and increase the number of slaughter houses abroad to increase the supply of chicken.
He added that the government is aware of reports that there are cartels controlling prices and chicken production among the larger companies.