CNY foodstuff to cost more

By The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Costlier pork, seafood and hawker fare are in the offing as the Chinese New Year draws near.

Penang Pig Butchers Association chairman Ng Chee Keen said pork prices had increased from RM17 to RM18 per kg from this week while roasted pork shot up from RM40 to RM44 per kg.

Penang Hawkers Association chairman Lam Tong Ying said food prices would be about 20% to 30% more expensive during the first three days of Chinese New Year.

“For example, a bowl of noodle costing RM2.50 may sell for RM3.00,” he said.

Lam added that the costlier fare was inevitable as some raw ingredients are pricier during the festive season due to increased consumption.

Prices of greens are also expected to shoot up by about 20% for a period of 10 days before and after the start of the Chinese New Year, according to Penang Vegetable Wholesalers Association chairman Tan Ban Ben.

Tan attributed it to both increased consumption and adverse weather conditions in China, which provides about 80% of the vegetables consumed here.

Seafood lovers would also have to pay more.

Fresh seafood seller Ch’ng Boon Cheng said prices could increase by as much as 50%.

He expected the increase to begin about two weeks before the Chinese New Year.

Grocery shop owner Saik Tuck Yow said the price of dried seafood products such as abalone, cuttlefish, fish maw, shrimp and scallop was expected to increase by about 10% because of the reduced ocean harvest.

Saik said he was keeping the price for lap yok (waxed meat) at RM60 per kg.

“This will mean a reduction in profit as pork, the main ingredient, is costlier now,” he said.

He expressed hope that the price would stabilise in the near future.

“Traders like us are doing all we can to keep prices acceptable without hitting our bottom line,” he said.