Sarawak government forms ‘immune belt’ team as long-term solution to tackle rabies

Abang Johari flagging off an IBET vehicle during the launching ceremony today, while UKPN director Dr Chai Khin Chung (front line, right), Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn (back line, second right) and others look on.

By Christopher Lidom

KUCHING, Sept 26: The Sarawak government has formed the Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) as a drastic measure to deal with the spread of rabies in the State.

According to the Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, this is the first such action taken by the government to deal with the disease.

“In 2018, the Sarawak government forked out huge allocations to fund a series of joint operations to curb the spread of rabies in the State.

“However, such an integrated operation is only a temporary action and cannot be conducted continuously because it involves several factors that are partly beyond the control of the Sarawak government.

“Therefore, as a long-term and continuous solution, the Sarawak government has accepted the results of the disease control study provided by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) by taking the initiative to establish a team called IBET, under the State Security and Enforcement Unit (UKPN) and Department of the Premier of Sarawak, to implement the initiative,” he said.

Abang Johari said this in his during the launching ceremony of the Immune Belt Enforcement Team held at Celebration Square in Petra Jaya today.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said a decision has also been made with UKPN to assist other government agencies, such as the Forestry Department, in protecting important strategic areas in Sarawak.

According to him, this includes energy generation areas such as Bakun Dam, Baleh Dam, and inland areas to assist the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Armed Force (ATM) stationed there.

For example, he pointed out that during the pandemic, illegal immigrants came into Sarawak using scrambler motorcycles, and the armed forces did not have enough equipment to counter this.

“So what happened was the State government gave them scrambler motorcycles. We also gave them drone equipment through our collaboration, including a government-to-government (G2G) collaboration with our Kalimantan counterparts.

“The follow-up action will be more strategic between the national security agency and us through this approach. This is how we and UKPN help other agencies,” he said. — DayakDaily