For most of us, we don’t really feel the impact of the Malaysia chicken export ban.
After all, the ban has been imposed for close to three months, and the supply of chicken appears to be stable, albeit at a slightly higher cost.
Chicken rice hawkers are still opening their stalls, and truth be told, the taste appears to remain relatively the same.
But for one chicken rice hawker, the ban has affected him so much, he might be closing down his stall next week.
Here’s what happened.
Chicken Rice Hawker Reportedly Lost $3,000 a Month Due to M’sia Chicken Ban
According to a report in Shin Min Daily News, a chicken rice hawker in Telok Blangah Market, Liu, has closed his stall for two weeks when the ban was first implemented.
His reason? He used fresh supply of kampong chicken for his chicken rice.
Kampong Chickens are reared a little different than regular chicken as they are allowed to “run free” in modernised closed house farms, strengthening their legs and bodies and making the meat firmer, but usually smaller.
This also means they’re usually more expensive than the usual broiler chicken.
Liu has always been using fresh kampong chicken since he started his stall in 2014.
Thankfully, the export ban on fresh kampong chicken and black chicken was lifted in mid-June. You can watch this video to know more:
So it should be good news for Liu, right?
According to Liu, the cost has raised drastically.
Before the ban, it cost less than $12 per chicken, but since the ban on fresh kampong chicken was lifted, the price has ballooned to about $20 per chicken and each chicken now weighs less.
Because of that, Liu raised his price from $3.50 to $4 for the smallest portion. A whole chicken cost $32 instead of $28.
That didn’t help; business still fell by 40%, and he did not dare to raise the price further.
Because of that, he claimed that he has been making losses of about $3,000 a month.
As to why he didn’t pivot to selling frozen chicken, he claimed that he tried it for a week but stopped as the results weren’t ideal. He said that he couldn’t serve anything that isn’t “good” to his customers as reputation is important in business.
Instead, he chose to close down his business by 27 August 2022.
Not sure how reputation can pay the bills, but Liu is not just your typical chicken rice hawker: he started helping out in his father’s chicken rice stall when he was 12, and had been selling chicken rice for almost half a century.
Although his stall in Telok Blangah Market was only open in 2014, he has been selling chicken rice in many other hawker centres and food centres.
Whether the Telok Blangah Market stall is his last stall is up to anyone’s guess.
Decision on Lifting of Export Ban Could Take Up to 2 Months
Given that we’ve been reading news on how the prices of chicken have stabilised in Malaysia and that the ban would be fully lifted soon, shouldn’t Liu just hold on for a while more?
Well, not really.
Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on 20 August that Malaysia will take up to two more months before deciding whether to lift the chicken export ban.
Despite the current oversupply of chicken, PM Ismail said that a delay was needed to ensure sufficient domestic supply and stable prices.
In a programme broadcast over Malaysian TV stations, PM Ismail shared that the Cabinet has discussed this issue, but can’t make a decision till the chicken subsidies end on 31 August.
If there is still an oversupply of chicken and if the price is low after 31 August, Malaysia may be able to allow exports.
Currently, Malaysian chicken prices have been kept below the government-instated ceiling of RM9.40, or S$2.90, per kilogram. According to Malaysian officials, the chicken industry’s supply and inflation issues have also been resolved.
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