Rats wreaking havoc at Air Cargo facility

Dr Jerip (at the head of the table) in a meeting with stakeholders of the air cargo sector at KIA. Also seen are (from third left) Muhamad Khairul, Herman and Jun Iskandar.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, March 12: Space constraints and lack of equipment and infrastructure are not the only critical issues facing the 35-year-old Air Cargo facility near Kuching International Airport (KIA).

The facility faces another issue that poses a serious threat to health, safety and property — rat infestation.

Customs Department senior assistant director Sargandang Liman revealed today that they had used various methods to trap the rodents, but they ‘retaliated’ by damaging electrical wiring and other objects in the Customs Office in the Air Cargo facility.

“It is a nuisance to us for five to six years now, and more importantly, cargo needs to meet various compliance as well,” he said.

Sargandang added that urgent actions by the relevant parties were needed before the rodents posed danger to the health and safety of both humans and property.

This was one of the issues highlighted and discussed during a meeting between Sarawak Forwarding Agencies Association, Customs Department, Malaysia Airport Berhad (MAB) as well as airliners, namely MABkargo, Pos Aviation Cargo and Raya Airways.

Present at the meeting was Assistant Minister for Transportation Datuk Dr Jerip Susil.

Earlier, Dr Jerip visited the old Air Cargo facility, which he observed had become nearly obsolete and needed a facelift or relocation to meet demand and offer better services given the substantial growth in cargo activities and airline operations in Kuching in particular and Sarawak in general.

On the rat problem, he urged the Health Department to help solve the problem.

“They (rats) are not only damaging property but can bite humans as well. This is a health issue because they can spread bacteria and diseases. It is very unusual for rats to be in airports, and they pose a major hazard to airport and aircraft.

“Look into this seriously and deal with this as it is a critical threat that must be tackled,” he emphasised.

Customs Department deputy director Herman Shah Abdullah, MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd cargo sales manager for Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei Muhamad Khairul Mohd Noor, Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd senior airport manager Jun Iskandar Murshidi, and Sarawak Forwarding Agencies Association vice president David Chieng were present. — DayakDaily