Humorous exchange in Sarawak Legislative Assembly over definition of four-legged animals

Chong (right) and Idris (left) debate the definition of 'quadrupeds' with regards to the Protection of Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2024. Photo credit: Ukas

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, May 7: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUS) chamber erupted in laughter after an amusing exchange about the definition of four-legged animals (“quadrupeds”) during today’s debate on the Protection of Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2024.

It began when DUS deputy speaker Datuk Idris Buang asked Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, “Do you agree that ‘quadrupeds’ includes dogs and cats?”


To which Chong replied, “I don’t think that can be interpreted into the debate.”

“But, there are also arguments that monkeys have four legs or four arms,” Idris said.

Chong countered by saying. “No, the upper limbs are called ‘arms’. Only you call them ‘legs’. In Mandarin, we call it ‘zhi lu wei ma’ (a Chinese idiom meaning misrepresentation).”

The DUS chamber broke out in laughter after that.

Earlier, Chong stated that, “Animals or pets are not allowed to be brought into any food premises by customers or to be reared by the owner, occupier, or stall holder of any food premises,” as proposed in the Protection of Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2024.

“In the Interpretation part of the Ordinance, it provides: ‘Animal’ includes any bird, fish, amphibian and reptile, quadruped, domesticated or otherwise.

“The definition of the word ‘animal’ did not include dogs and cats. The statutory principle on interpretation is when one or more things of a class are expressly mentioned others of the same class are excluded.

“Therefore, when certain classes of animals were expressly mentioned in a provision of the law, it can be interpreted that the provision excludes the other classes of animals not mentioned,” he explained during his debate on the Bill during the Third Term of the 19th DUS sitting, which was held today at the DUS complex here.

Tebedu assemblyman Dr Simon Sinang Bada then clarified that in the definition of ‘animal’, there is a term that states ‘quadruped’, which means four-legged animal.

“How many legs does a cat have? How many legs does a dog have? They are four-legged. So, I believe they are covered under ‘quadruped’,” he remarked. — DayakDaily