Economists in Malaysia have noted that the ongoing chicken supply crisis has exposed structural issues needing sustainable reforms. Malaysia University of Science and Technology professor Geoffrey Williams said that Malaysia’s chicken export ban had created a shortage in Singapore, although it is not a problem for Malaysia.
Meanwhile, another economist, Carmelo Ferlito of the Center for Market Education, said that the export ban would deprive poultry farmers of their main export market. This could push some producers to shut down, thus affecting the local chicken supply. “While Malaysia plays a suicidal game, we can’t expect the rest of the world to sit down and wait for us. It is expected for them to look for chicken elsewhere,” he said when asked about the news that Singapore plans to import 10 times more chilled chicken from Thailand.
Prof Williams told Free Malaysia Today that six per cent of Malaysian poultry is exported, while Malaysian chicken meets 33 per cent of Singapore’s demand for consumption. “Great news! The chicken crisis will be over in weeks, but we do need long-term reforms,” wrote Prof Williams on his LinkedIn profile on Sunday (June 5).
He explained that the government is doing the right thing by first capping prices and then improving domestic supply by encouraging imports and discouraging exports.
“After that, long-term market reform and liberalisation are the answer to food insecurity issues,” he noted.
“Engaging with industry stakeholders to find and remove pain points and uncovering, removing and penalising anti-competitive behaviour through The Malaysia Competition Commission is essential,” he added.
Prof Williams also said that removing unnecessary licensing and ownership restrictions, for example, in haulage, and opening up concessions that are now restricted to specific special interest groups are all reforms that will improve competition.
Malaysian prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that beginning June 1, about 3.6 million chickens a month would not be exported to help stabilise local supply. /TISG
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