Sarawak to talk with Indonesia on tackling spread of rabies

Pet owners bringing their dogs for the free vaccination at the Kota Padawan community hall. -

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KUCHING: How Sarawak and Indonesia could jointly work together to stop he spread of rabies infected animals from West Kalimantan into southern Sarawak will be on the agenda when officials from the two states meet tomorrow in Kuching.

Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said today that Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, and Minister of Local Government and Housing, Datuk Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian, will jointly lead a delegation for an “exploratory talks” with the Indonesian Consul-General in Kuching Jahar Gultom tomorrow.

Sarawak, like West Kalimantan, is grappling to contain a rabies outbreak.

In Sarawak, the deadly viral disease has already claimed the lives of four young children, including two siblings aged 4 and 6.

The rabies, first detected in May in Kampung Paun Rimu Bakung in Serian, is now on the outskirt of Kuching city.

Abang Johari said Sarawak will propose creating an “immune belt” along the border in southern Sarawak in the talk.

Under the proposal, all dogs and cats on both sides of the border are to be vaccinated in mass vaccination drives and their movements restricted, he told reporters at the 10th Mile Kota Padawan community hall where he had gone to witness a mass vaccination of dogs this afternoon.

Abang Johari said since the town of Lachau was declared a rabies-infected area yesterday, all Sarawak border towns, villages and settlements are now susceptible to the disease.

Lachau is a popular rest stop for travellers along the Kuching – Sri Aman road and its only a few minutes on foot to the border.

It was declared an infected area after a man from Sri Aman was bitten by a rabid dog while he was on a rest-stop there.

To date, four villages close to the border have been declared rabies-infected settlements.

They are Kpg Temong Mura in Tebedu, Kpg Paon Rimu Bakung in Serian, Lachau and Rumah Janta Punggu Mawang also in Sri Aman.

Abang Johari also said the federal government had spent RM2.4 million to buy anti-rabies vaccines for the free vaccination while the state government had contributed half a million ringgit in buying vaccines, protective clothing and other equipment for front line workers. –