A few Singaporeans have countered the new Malaysian chicken export restrictions by listing chicken products on Carousell at exorbitant price rates, deeming them “rare” and “limited edition” goods.
The sarcastic listings, however, seem to to be mere jokes as locals try to seek banter in the export ban, which has come into practice starting today.
An analysis on Carousell Singapore revealed a listing for a S$1,510 takeaway box of Hainanese roasted chicken rice from a food stalls. This is equivalent to RM4,830.
“Get this before chicken rice becomes history,” the seller advised.
The export limitations for chicken products on Malaysian grounds stems from a recent, ongoing chicken shortage.
Previously, on May 23, the Malaysian government declared that it would suspend the trade of 3.6 million chickens per month beginning June 1 in attempt to face domestic supply constraints.
This, along with the recent price hike for pork products has threatened to deplete the country’s economy and poultry sectors.
The Singapore Food Agency stated that it will mitigate the impact of the economic blockade by increasing chilled chicken imports from alternative sources as well as frozen chicken imports from other external providers.
It also suggested for consumers to consider changing to substitute meat sources.
Distributors of chicken facing the Malaysian export ban are also urging their customers to accept whichever parts are available, such as a breast or wing, rather than ordering the entire bird.
Importers, for their part, are cranking up processing ahead of the ban, stocking up as much chicken as they can in chillers and freezers to prepare for the uncertainty ahead.
Chicken rice stalls, for instance, have been told to accept certain parts and portions instead of whole chickens.
Even the most prevalent chicken rice businesses have been impacted by the abrupt change; the renowned Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice outlet in the city-state told the Straits Times that if it can no longer receive access to fresh chicken, it may stop selling chicken dishes altogether.
The restaurant gets its chicken products entirely from Malaysia.
Another seller advertised a “rare limited chicken cutlet” and “rare chicken chop” for S$3,000 (RM9,586) each, asserting that the price was justified due to the rising demand and limited produce.
“Last opportunity to taste chicken before it’s obsolete for future generations,” the seller added.
A ‘rare’ McDonald’s chicken burger has also been listed by a seller who contends it is one of the few McChickens “left in Singapore that are actually made from chicken”. It’s priced at S$1,500 (RM4,793).
There is also a distributor who has listed the “last chicken rice in Singapore” for a competitive price of S$40 (RM127) – the closest to reasonable pricing, but still far from the norm.
It’s not just complete meals either- raw chicken is also available on the site, at S$1,999 (RM6395) from the same seller offering chicken breast for S$90 (RM287) with the explanation “I only have about 1.2kg left”.
In terms of the main issue, most consumers at wet markets and supermarkets told reporters that they were still purchasing their regular amount of chicken.
However, some folks, such as self-employed Damien Lee, 35, want to taste their last meal made from fresh chicken before it becomes unavailable.
“If the prices go up too much, I might eat less chicken… but I’d like to have one last lavish chicken meal before that actually occurs with my family (of four),” said Lee, who managed to buy two whole fresh chickens from FairPrice Finest at Clementi Mall according to the Star.
“For the time being, it is still affordable, but an increase of $5 would be a bit excessive… if that happens, we’ll likely just eat different meats or more veggies,” he added.
Others, like 53-year-old delivery driver Samuel Chin, who was buying groceries at Ghim Moh Market, are hoping that people will not overspend.
“You will not only waste food, but you will also waste money if you do not finish it. I don’t personally know anyone who hoards (chickens), but I’m sure there will be people who stockpile and then throw it in the bin because it’s no longer fresh…
“Simply buy what you need, and what you can finish,” Chin said, also reported by the Star.
Head importers, whose clients include online retailers, supermarket chains, restaurant groups, wet markets and chicken rice stalls, also noted that they would work with their customers and ask them to switch parts, ensuring the highest quality and levels of freshness possible.
Meanwhile, chicken-lovers nationwide seem to already be bearing the brunt of the chicken shortage:
Jokes and trolling aside, let’s hope we won’t really have to spend a month’s salary on a plate of chicken rice someday…