PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today admitted that the price of essential goods has increased but said it was not caused by traders.

The prime minister attributed the price increase to costs accumulated at various levels of the supply chain before goods reached the traders.

“It is true that daily essentials are more expensive now. Traders and wholesalers are not responsible for this price increase. I see it as resulting from the supply chain.

“Take chicken as an example. Breeders, factories and wholesalers all have their own costs. The price is already high by the time the goods reach the traders,” he told reporters after conducting price checks on essential items at MyFarm Outlet Kasih here.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) needs to cooperate with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to resolve this issue.

“At the same time, we (government) need to seriously look into the issue regarding the involvement of middlemen,” he added.

Ismail Sabri said the government would import frozen chicken to enable the people to obtain chicken at a lower price.

“For a start, we will bring in 200 container loads,” he said, adding that imported frozen chicken is expected to be available in the local market by next week at the latest.

Ismail Sabri said the price of local chicken had increased recently.

“The increase in chicken price to RM9.80 per kilogramme is unusual although prices had exceeded RM10 per kilogramme before. But this seldom happened because chicken prices normally ranged between RM7 and RM8 per kilogramme,” he said.

On the issue of fish supply, Ismail Sabri said MAFI would temporarily stop fish exports to ensure fish is easily available at reasonable prices in the local market.

“If possible we will temporarily stop fish exports because it is important to meet the needs of our people. We do not want them to be burdened with price hikes, especially for wet goods,” he added.

He said this approach to check price increase had been taken in 2013 when he was the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister. — Bernama