First day of Malaysia's chicken export ban: Sellers in S'pore face higher costs, stopping operations, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

First day of Malaysia's chicken export ban: Sellers in S'pore face higher costs, stopping operations

Chicken sellers in Singapore are facing higher costs from suppliers on the first day of Malaysia's ban on its chicken exports on Wednesday (June 1).

Some which are more dependent on Malaysian suppliers are ceasing operations for a month, although there were no long queues at markets visited by The Straits Times.

Chicken rice sellers said they are preparing to sell frozen chicken once their fresh chicken supplies are exhausted in a few days.

Mr Vincent Liow, owner of Ken & Vin Fresh Poultry at Ghim Moh Market, said his supplier had increased prices.

"The suppliers increased the price, and with the ban, they won't lower it... But as sellers, we also think it's too expensive (for the customers)," the 47-year-old stall owner said.

"For a chicken leg, last week my prices went up to $4, but I pushed it back down to $3.50 today, to make it cheaper for my customers. We don't want to increase the price so high, so we'll just profit less," said Mr Liow. Before the ban was announced more than a week ago, one chicken leg was selling for $2.50.

Chicken importers had encouraged their clients to buy chicken parts instead of the whole bird. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Mr H.S. Chng, 58, who owns Ngoh Kia Seafood, said the fresh chicken stocks he has will last until at most tomorrow. "After that, if we cannot get stocks for fresh or even frozen chicken, we would have to stop selling."

This is the case for Mr Peter Toh, owner of Heng Huat Fresh Chicken at Ghim Moh Market. Wednesday would be the 52-year-old's last day before a break.

"My supplier told me no more chicken will come in. And since chicken is not coming in, there's no chicken to give me. I'll sell only fresh chicken, not frozen chicken," he said.

He added that there would likely be stock on Thursday from the chickens that were brought in before the ban, but is unsure of the stock situation, as many sellers would be trying to get their hands on the remaining stock.

Malaysia is facing a chicken shortage, with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announcing on May 23 that it will halt the export of up to 3.6 million chickens a month from June 1, until domestic prices and production stabilise.

Mr Jason Teo, 52, who runs chicken rice store 888 at Ghim Moh Food Centre, is one of the sellers who will be using frozen chicken in his chicken rice dishes.

"I called my supplier yesterday, and he told me that these two days there would still be fresh stock for me. But after that, we'll all have to use frozen chicken. I'll also have to try recipes," he said.

Despite the efforts of importers who had encouraged their clients to buy chicken parts instead of the whole bird, Mr Teo said it was difficult to adapt to this change.

"Even if I buy the chicken parts (instead of the whole bird), its very difficult to cook, as the timings for cooking would be all different. This is especially hard for roasted chicken," he said.

However, despite the export ban, poultry sellers like Mr Win Hong, who runs Winthrop Hong Group at Ghim Moh Market, said consumers should not worry. His shop sells mainly organic chicken.

"No problem, as there is still chicken in stock. The local companies were slaughtering many chickens last night, all around the clock, slaughtering the last batch… they are working for the people and thinking of the people… and us sellers are not trying to make big money, enough profit will do," he said.

He added: "I'll still have chicken coming in later. Customers don't need to panic that there's no chicken. I know a lot of locals will panic, but there's no need to. There's still a lot of chicken available."