The Penang state government’s plan to permanently stop the slaughtering of fresh chickens at wet markets come March 1 is yet another cruel blow to traders and consumers alike.
When will enough be enough in this land where big time monopolies under the disguise of health or hygiene keep pushing and punishing simpleton traders from making an honest, hardworking living?
When can consumers have their rights to choice over what they want to buy to cook be spared and not dictated upon?
Why force all chicken traders to buy frozen chicken from one source when people in Malaysia generally prefer to buy fresh, kicking, living chicken and have it freshly slaughtered for the table?
It is true that traders supporting their families with this long practised trade will be severely affected.
It is also true these traders who spend much of their earnings in investing in more modern slaughtering equipment to meet the pressing demands of local councils in recent years will now see their investments go to waste.
In these times of economic stagnation and financial peril why does the state government push ahead with a well protected, foreign entity monopoly?
Do our own citizens’ livelihoods as well as the citizens’ preference to food choices be hammered away by some unknown, foreign investment that wants a monopoly stake in the country?
We cannot carry on seeing the high and mighty hand of policymakers keep pushing locals into tight corners.
Hopefully the cries of the frustrated traders and the sacrosanct right to choose our food purchases is not trampled upon any further.
If the rational is to minimise bacteria infestation then just provide better premises with drainage, water supply and waste management efficiencies at wet markets.
All citizens have a right to make a living. It is not just the right of oligarchs and giant operatives with fat purses and thick cables.
J. D. Lovrenciear