KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Malaysia’s spiralling inflation meant the ritual animal sacrifice for Hari Raya Aidiladha was more expensive this year, with some mosques saying Muslim partaking in the religious korban were paying around 25 per cent more than before.
While the country’s attention was recently on the price of chicken, mosques and prayer halls contacted by Malay Mail all reported that the price of beef has also risen along with most other types of meat in the country.
Committee member of Surau Al-Ansor in Shah Alam, Selangor, Mat Saruan Kadis said although some increase had been expected, the rise this year was more than they had predicted.
While it had been RM650 for each of the typical seven portions per cow last year, Mat Saruan said it now cost an extra RM100 this year for the same amount.
This was made worse by the decline in the congregation size that meant smaller collections, he said.
“Luckily the congregants understand about the current economic situation and are still willing to contribute to the surau because things like this are considered holy.
“Thus, I can say they are more than willing (to contribute) despite the increment,” the surau official said.
Tengku Ampuan Mosque assistant manager Ahmad Fajri Adi Minif was another who reported an increase in the price of cows bought for the ritual sacrifice.
He said suppliers informed them that they had to charge more due to increasing costs, forcing them to raise the contribution amount for meat this year.
“Last year it was RM800 per part which means RM5,600 for a whole cow totalling seven parts. But for this year we had to increase it to RM850 per part making it RM5,950 for a whole cow,” he told Malay Mail.
He explained that meat from the live slaughter were typically distributed among three groups: the poor, members of the public, and staff involved in the holy sacrificial ritual.
In the Perak state capital of Ipoh, this year’s preparation for the korban (ritual sacrifice) at Surau Al-Ansar has had to be smaller than previous years due to both rising prices and fewer contributions from Muslims in the area.
The surau’s treasurer, Shahir Yahya, said they only managed to collect enough to purchase five cows, or two fewer than last year, as the price per portion has risen from RM600 to RM750.
According to Shahir, this was also compounded by local mosques and suraus having to compete with online platforms that allowed Muslims to contribute to the korban abroad for less money.
“I think with online platforms providing services for Muslims to contribute (in the sacrificial ritual) overseas, which is half the price here,” he explained.
Such online platforms enable Muslims to contribute to the ritual animal sacrifice for Aidiladha in a country of their choosing to support a particular cause — such as Palestine, for instance — or where the cost was cheaper by as much as half what it was in Malaysia.
When contacted by Malay Mail, online provider EZ Qurban Sdn Bhd confirmed the contribution rate for the korban to be performed in one of 35 countries abroad was RM320 per portion.
The countries were spread across Africa and Asia, meaning the korban might be in Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, or Indonesia, among others. At RM320 per portion, EZ Qurban said contributors did not get the privilege of choosing where they wanted their sacrifice to be performed.
EZ Qurban chief operating officer Muhammad Hafeez Firdaus Toharudin said the firm also arranged for korban to be performed in Malaysia, but said this was up to RM750 per portion this year.
“Usually due to rising cattle feed prices. And it is a tradition that during the sacrificial season, if there is a late purchase, there will also be a price increase compared to bookings made earlier,” he told Malay Mail.
Corroborating the reason for the higher price rate of cows in the local market, owner of livestock supplier Best Farm Global Mohd Salehuddin Mohd Razali said feed that used to be RM50 a bag was now RM60 at best but more likely closer to RM70.
Mohd Sallehuddin also said that in his 15 years in the trade, he has never seen prices so high.
“I can just opt for lower quality food for my livestock at the same price of RM50 but I cannot risk the growth of my livestock just to maintain my profit margin.
“That would be very un-Islamic of me to do that,” he said.
While a 250kg cow could be had for RM6,000 last year, he said one the same size would now be RM1,000 more at the very least.
A senior executive at a local livestock farm, Nur Hanis Ramlan acknowledged that cattle prices were “unusually” higher than in previous years.
“Because the price of feedstock also increased crazily, hence the price of the cattle. Our cattle are raised in feedlots, thus the cost of feeding is very high,” she said.
Aidiladha is meant to commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim willingness to obey Allah’s order for him to sacrifice his son. Before he did so, however, Allah gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.
The festival also marks the end of the Haj pilgrimage season in Mecca.
It is celebrated on the 10th of Zulhijjah every year, or roughly 70 days after Ramadan.