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Najib: Anwar’s suggestions on chicken issues are populist ideas

THE STAR – Suggestions by Malaysian opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to tackle the high cooking oil and chicken prices will make the situation worse, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In a Facebook post yesterday, the former prime minister said Anwar’s suggested solutions would not work.

“His first suggestion is to limit the exports of palm oil. Indonesia had tried this but was forced to do a U-turn after it became critical and they had to reduce export taxes to reduce stock.

“In the end the worldwide prices for the raw material and palm oil dropped exponentially,” he said.

Najib added that instead the government should crack down on the misuse of subsidised oil by commercial companies and factories.

On the prices of chicken, Najib said that Anwar’s call for the government to go after chicken suppliers was the wrong move.

“He claims that chicken rearers are hoarding stock and purposely not supplying them to the market to drive prices up. Chickens are living beings, not iPhones or wheat that can be kept for long periods of time.

“If they do not sell, the rearers will need to bear continuing costs because their chickens require food,” he said. The main cause of the increase in prices, Najib added, was due to supply chain disruptions and a lack of manpower due to the pandemic.

“This is a challenge faced around the world. However, the situation in Malaysia was made worse due to the previous government’s unwise decision to control prices without solving the problem’s main issues such as raising electricity prices and a lack of manpower.

“In turn chicken rearers have stopped their operations or reduced output because they had been forced to suffer losses by selling chickens below costs,” he said.

Combo photo shows Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Najib Razak. PHOTO: THE STAR