Penang poultry sellers cry foul over chiller requirement at wet markets

Opalyn Mok
·3-min read
Penang Traders Association Chairman Azizurahman A. Dzulkarnain (centre) and association members show the difference between slaughtered (left) and frozen (right) chicken in Penang January 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Traders Association Chairman Azizurahman A. Dzulkarnain (centre) and association members show the difference between slaughtered (left) and frozen (right) chicken in Penang January 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 11 — Poultry sellers on Penang island are crying foul over a compulsory requirement to install chillers at their stalls in wet markets and to sell only frozen dressed chicken.

The Gabungan Peniaga-peniaga Ayam Pulau Pinang chairman Azizur Rahman said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has issued the poultry sellers in all wet markets on the island notices to purchase chillers for their stalls.

“The whole point of wet markets was to sell fresh food items such as freshly slaughtered chicken and not sell frozen chicken like supermarkets,” he said in a press conference here today.

He claimed the city council is forcing all of the poultry sellers to purchase chillers that cost around RM12,000 each.

“They are also forcing us to only take frozen dressed chicken supply from one supplier, a foreign company, at the poultry distribution centre in Batu Lanchang,” he claimed.

He said this is obviously a monopoly of the poultry sector which will affect all of the other smaller poultry suppliers in the state.

“Regardless of what certification they have, we do not want to take dressed chicken from them, we prefer to slaughter the chicken ourselves so that we know for sure it is halal,” he said.

He said by doing away chicken slaughtering activities by poultry sellers, a lot of people will lose their jobs.

“We have workers helping us to slaughter and clean the chicken so if we are only selling frozen dressed chicken, all these workers will lose their jobs,” he said.

He said most poultry sellers had invested in RM50,000 to RM60,000 worth of machines for slaughtering and cleaning chicken.

“What are we going to do with these machines? Who will bear the losses? The state government is preying on us small traders just to benefit their cronies,” he claimed.

Penang Traders Association vice-chairman Muhammad Shaffi Yacob showing the difference between slaughtered (left) and frozen (right) chicken during the press conference in Penang January 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Traders Association vice-chairman Muhammad Shaffi Yacob showing the difference between slaughtered (left) and frozen (right) chicken during the press conference in Penang January 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

He said the poultry sellers were already suffering a drop in business due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now the city council had unnecessarily given them more problems that will affect their business.

He said there are about 200 poultry sellers on the island and none of them agreed to the city council’s decision to force all of them to switch to selling frozen dressed chicken.

“We take our chicken supplies from different suppliers, there are about 50 small chicken suppliers, but by forcing us to take supplies only from that foreign company at the poultry distribution centre, these small suppliers will soon close down and more people will lose their source of income,” he said.

He said there was also no guarantee on the prices of the frozen dressed chicken so it could lead to an increase in chicken prices.

He said the city council should be looking at setting up slaughtering centres in different areas such as in Balik Pulau, Batu Maung and Air Itam for the poultry sellers to slaughter chicken there.

“We can slaughter the chicken there ourselves so that we do not have to worry about the halal status of the chicken,” he said.

Penang Traders Association Chairman Azizurahman A. Dzulkarnain speaks to the press regarding the new law will be implemented by the state municipal council on fresh chicken in Penang January 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Traders Association Chairman Azizurahman A. Dzulkarnain speaks to the press regarding the new law will be implemented by the state municipal council on fresh chicken in Penang January 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

He called on the state government and city council to reconsider its decision on this as this affects their livelihood and those who work at these stalls.

He also demanded to know if this new procedure was an instruction from the federal government and if it was, this issue should be raised in parliament.

In a notice issued by MBPP dated December 23, 2020, the city council stated it had been instructed not to allow slaughtering of chicken in wet markets by the Local Government and Housing Ministry back in 2014.

According to the notice, the slaughtering of chicken was not allowed at wet markets since March 2020 and from March 1 this year, each stall must have display chillers to display the chicken that must be chilled to temperatures between 0 to 4 degrees Celsius.

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