KUCHING, August 14: The federal government has approved allocations totalling RM21 million to help Sarawak curb the spread of rabies. It will also be sending manpower to help deal with this contagious and deadly disease.
Of the amount, RM3 million is for vaccines and other necessities. The remaining RM18 million is from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry to upgrade the veterinary lab here with facilities to detect the rabies virus quicker, besides savings on logistics. Currently, all samples have to be sent to Ipoh for testing.
This development came about after Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii was today permitted to table in the Dewan Rakyat an Emergency Motion under Standing Order 18(1) to discuss the spread of rabies in the state.
In a statement, Dr Yii said he submitted the motion after Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who heads the state disaster management committee, said Putrajaya had halted sending veterinarians to assist in the fight against rabies.
“In my debate, I pushed for a clearer picture of the situation on the ground with regards to conflicting reports on the severity of the situation. I also urged Putrajaya to assist and work together with the state government to come up with a solution and effective plan to address this issue as it involves lives,” said Dr Yii.
Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Salahuddin Ayub then shared his ministry’s concerns on the matter and also pledged to seek for more allocations from the cabinet to help the state curb this viral nightmare.
“I want to express my gratitude to the minister for his quick response to the matter and for his concern to the issues faced by us here in Sarawak,” he said.
Interestingly, Dr Yii noted that while many members of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) had been criticising Pakatan Harapan over this issue, none of their MPs bothered to speak up in Parliament to request for assistance.
Rabies has claimed 10 lives since the outbreak in the state in July last year. The number of confirmed cases is 11, and the sole survivor is a young boy. He was discharged from the hospital with severe neurological problems and is on life support.
In all, 33 areas in Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman and Sarikei have been declared as rabies-outbreak areas. — DayakDaily