Prevent FMD, stop imports of fresh milk from peninsula, says Chong

Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen says Sarawak’s meat exports to Singapore will be affected if there is a FMD epidemic in state.

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has asked for a ban on imports of fresh milk from the peninsula to prevent the spread of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) among livestock in the state.

Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen said earlier this year, the Sarawak Veterinary Services Department had issued a circular prohibiting the imports of fresh milk from countries or regions, including from the peninsula, which is not free from FMD, into the state.

“Despite this circular, we have found fresh milk products imported from the peninsula entering Sarawak. I was also informed that there is another batch of fresh milk coming into the state.

“If any of our poultry is found contaminated, our status as a region free from FMD will be affected,” he told reporters here today.

He said besides Sarawak, countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia were listed as free from FMD.

As such, unlike the peninsula, Sarawak is allowed to export its poultry products to many countries.

“Currently, Singapore is importing pigs and pork from Sarawak. One of the reasons is that the state is free from FMD.”

Chong, who is also Sarawak DAP chairman, said if fresh milk from regions affected by FMD were imported into Sarawak, the permit to export Sarawak’s meat to Singapore might be revoked.

“Therefore, I urge state Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister Douglas Uggah Embas to look into this matter seriously instead of just paying lip service in protecting Sarawak’s rights,” he said.