Sarawak govt vets number less than half of Sabah counterparts — only 290 compared to more than 750 in DVS Sabah

Dr Rundi delivering his winding-up speech for the Veterinary Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2022 at DUN Sitting on Nov 23, 2022.

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By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, Nov 23: A serious shortage of veterinarians in Sarawak with only 290 in the civil service compared to over 750 at the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sabah represents a major constraint to animal safety, disease surveillance, regulatory tasks and livestock industry development.

Acknowledging this issue raised by Tebedu assemblyman Dr Simon Sinang Bada, Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom emphasised that the Sarawak government will definitely need to push harder so that Sarawak can get the manpower needed for DVS Sarawak which is crucial in ensuring the entire security and safety of the food chain.

“That’s the reason why we need this Veterinary Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2022 so that we can have assistance including during an emergency outbreak (rabies).

“That’s why we need officers from IBET (Immune Belt Enforcement Team) who are not ordinary officers but they are well trained by the authority and who can also dispense drugs and do vaccinations,” he told the august House when winding up the debate on the Bill in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) hearing here today.

Earlier on, Dr Rundi explained that the amendment Bill is significant as it allows the authorisation of IBET personnel, which were provided for under the Sarawak Security and Enforcement Unit on June 22, 2020, to assist DVS Sarawak to administer vaccinations and carry out relevant statutory functions and duties of the State Veterinary Authority to effectively eradicate rabies in Sarawak.

The Bill was passed in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.

The Sarawak government, Dr Rundi added, has taken up this responsibility seriously to protect Sarawak.

As the fight against African Swine Fever (ASF) continues in Sarawak, he called for close cooperation from the public, especially livestock farmers, hunters and all related stakeholders, because the State government and authorities cannot fight the disease on its own.

“There is no such thing as pushing the blame or responsibilities onto the public. All we need is cooperation from all sectors including the public in order for the authorities to be more effective.

“We are hoping by 2025, we should be able to eradicate these (rabies and ASF),” he added. — DayakDaily