Deputy Minister promises to amend outdated bird nest law while urging farmers to apply for licence

Tiang (third left) flanked by Zolkipli on his left at the 'Dialogue between SFC and Sarawak Bird’s Nest Industry' held at the KCGC (Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Innovation Hub here today (May 30, 2023).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, May 30: Admitting that the laws governing the bird nest industry were no longer practical, Public Health, Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Michael Tiang has promised to amend them.

At the same time, Tiang also advised bird nest farmers to apply for the necessary licence to stay legitimate and legal.

He said the amendment of such laws were his responsibility, as well as that of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development.

“So I think it’s time for the top level, the policymakers, to revise the law, to update the law to go in line with the industry’s development.

“I promise you I will bring this issue up to the amendment side of the law. SFC (Sarawak Forestry Corporation) is just doing their job. They are bound by the laws even though the laws are old (outdated) sometimes,” said Tiang at the ‘Dialogue between SFC and Sarawak Bird’s Nest Industry’ held at the KCGC (Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Innovation Hub here.

He sympathised with the bird nest farmers and agreed with them that the law stipulating that bird nest farms must be built 16km away from populated urban centres is not practical as cities and towns may expand, which will push such farms further into the interior, to even up to the Sarawak-Indonesia border.

Tiang who is Pahlawan lawmaker also took the opportunity to urge the bird’s nest farmers to register themselves and to apply for licences to operate, as more than 800 bird’s nest farms in Sarawak have yet to be licensed.

He said if they were to register as encouraged by SFC CEO Zolkipli Mohamad Atom, when their applications are under process which are proven by the receipts from SFC, their farms, despite having yet to be licensed, will not be raided.

SFC seized RM2.5 million worth of bird nests from four premises in Sibu on May 3. These premises were found to be operating without a permit and the nests seized were also found to be from illegal sources. — DayakDaily