PETALING JAYA: Traders of frozen and cold meats say the government’s controlled price for mutton set at RM21 per kg during the Christmas season is too low to cover their costs.
Speaking to FMT Alauddin Abdul Rahim, a butcher at the Sentul market, said the price set by the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry was not realistic.
He explained that butchers purchased mutton from importers for around RM20.50 per kg.
“The ministry says importers sell mutton for RM17 per kg, so traders are told to sell it for RM21 per kg,” he said, adding the mutton was imported from Australia and New Zealand.
“The ministry set the price without going to the ground to check on current prices,” he said, adding the RM17 per kg quoted was an old price.
Alauddin also said butchers had to remove the fat from the meat, which accounted for some 3kg on average.
Another trader, Shahjahan Abdul Ghani echoed Alauddin’s concerns. He said it was not feasible for traders to sell imported mutton.
“When the price is not controlled, we can make a profit of RM7 or RM8, but now we will make a RM1 profit which will not cover the losses we suffer when we cut out the fat.”
He said the ministry had not done their homework and should have checked with the importers’ selling price first before announcing the controlled price.
Earlier this week domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism minister Hamzah Zainuddin announced 18 items would be on the Christmas season price control scheme.
He said the maximum price for wholesale and retail items was set in accordance with information gathered from the monitoring of prices this year and last year.
He warned that traders who did not comply with the controlled price, could be fined a maximum of RM100,000, or face a jail sentence of up to three years, or both, while wholesalers could also be fined up to RM500,000 in court or have the offence compounded for up to RM250,000. -FMT