PUTRAJAYA: The prices of chickens and eggs will be capped for five months as proactive measures are taken to ensure prices of these essential goods remain affordable to consumers.

The maximum price of standard chickens will be lowered by 20 sen to RM8.90 per kg and consumers will pay for the eggs according to price enforced under the maximum price scheme implemented during festive seasons.

The decision to enforce these initiatives was made during the National Council on Cost of Living (NACCOL) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

It will take effect from Feb 5 until June 5.

The current price of chicken is RM9.10 per kg while the price of eggs ranges from 39sen to 49sen per egg depending on location and size.

“These proactive measures are needed to ensure the price of chicken remains affordable.

“At the same time, this is to ensure that the poultry industry will not be affected and that supply remains stable,” said Ismail Sabri in a statement after the meeting.

The Prime Minister also said the meeting had agreed that applications to hire foreign workers from Bangladesh for employment in the poultry industry be opened in stages beginning Jan 28.

“To address shortage, the meeting has agreed that hypermarket operators be given the Approved Permit (AP) to import chicken and that existing holders of AP are allowed to import whole chickens compared to the current practice where they can only bring in chicken parts.

“The meeting has also directed the Malaysia Competition Commission to investigate whether cartels are operating and are determining the prices of chickens and eggs,” he added.

The Finance Ministry has been asked to study tax incentives to encourage poultry farms to transform, he said.

“The government will provide subsidies to ensure the price of essential goods are at the maximum price scheme level,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He added that details on the subsidies will be done by the national cost of living task force and will be in place until the prices of goods stabilised.

The meeting also discussed a few long-term measures, including the use of oil palm husk as chicken feed replacing corn and soy.