By Zefry DahalanSEREMBAN: Vendors at the wet market here are crying foul over a decision by the Seremban Municipal Council (SMC) to privatise the slaughtering of fresh chicken.
From next year, they can no longer slaughter chickens themselves. They will have to buy slaughtered fowl from a company operating in Pedas, about 25km away. The slaughterer’s fee is 88 sen per chicken.
“We’ll have to pass the extra costs, including transportation, to the customer,” said Norli Othman, one of the nearly 30 chicken sellers at the market.
They will also have to dismiss some workers, according to another seller, Rosniza Mansor.
“I employ 12 people for various jobs, including transporting chickens from my pen to the market, slaughtering, and dressing,” she said. “All of them will lose their jobs. How will their families survive?”
PAS leader Mujahid Yusof Rawa visited the market today and afterwards told reporters that he would seek the intervention of the Minister of Trade and Consumer Affairs.
Mujahid, who is the MP for Parit Buntar, heads his party’s National Unity Bureau. He was in Seremban at the invitation of the Negeri Sembilan PAS Supporters Assembly.
He said SMC should abandon the privatisation plan for the sake of both sellers and buyers.
"Concern was raised by chicken sellers that most of their Muslim customers preferred to witness the slaughtering because they want to make sure that they are buying really halal meat,” he said.
“Even non-Muslim customers apparently prefer the freshness of chicken slaughtered on the spot.”
He said about 200 workers would lose their jobs if SMC went ahead with the new ruling.
According to vendors, SMC explained that it came up with the rule because the slaughter of chickens at the market was adding to the pollution of a nearby river.
Mujahid called it a lame excuse. “If that is their reason,” he said, “then what about the dressing of fish and other meats?”
He said the council should instead upgrade the infrastructure of the Seremban market.