PETALING JAYA: The public must try to reduce consumption of chicken to help stabilise the supply crisis. They also need to stop buying more than they need.

In making the call, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) CEO Saravanan Thambirajah urged consumers to be patient as the chicken crisis was not only affecting Malaysia but also the world as the food supply chain has been badly affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

He added that consumers need to play their part to help overcome the shortage situation.

“The government is doing its best to stabilise the supply chain, which is why chicken cartels and middlemen are upset.

“We also need better planning and policies to ensure food security, so that we are self-sustaining and capable of meeting any future challenges,” he said.

Sunway University Business School Professor of Economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng said high prices will reduce demand as consumers would usually adjust their spending and opt for cheaper substitutes.

“However, for many consumers, it is difficult to change tastes and preferences and they will continue to pay higher prices until the price of chicken becomes a pain point. It is important that adequate meat substitutes are available for consumers.

“Such market adjustments in supply and demand and the shift in consumption spending patterns may take a while before they impact chicken prices to fall. Therefore, consumers should brace for a longer period of high prices.”

Yeah said as long as production from various meat industries and supplies to consumers are not disrupted, the economy would not be impacted as consumers are able to switch from consuming one meat to another according to their preference.

On Monday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced a ban on whole chicken exports, currently at 3.6 million a month, from June 1 until prices and supply stabilise. In 2021, Malaysians consumed 49.7kg of poultry meat per person. This puts the country among the top global consumers of poultry meat worldwide.