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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Oct 7: Swiftlet farm owners currently operating within city centres, district centres, sub-district centres and settlement areas with more than 100 houses are advised to voluntarily relocate their farms away from these more densely populated locations.
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) Chief Executive Officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton told swiftlet farm owners this during a dialogue session with Sarikei Division Bird’s Nest Merchants Association in Sarikei today.
The swiftlet farm operators were also asked to minimise noise disturbances by lowering the volume of bird chirping recordings to not more than 50 decibel.
“The time to operate audio equipment is from 6am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm only,” Zolkipli said.
Zolkipli who is also Controller of Wildlife said when a complaint was made to SFC, the department will first verify it based on noise disturbance and operating hours of the audio equipment.
“If it is found to be legitimate, SFC will give notice to stop operation, failing which SFC will issue a reminder letter to stop operation and to close the premises.
“If the reminder letter is ignored, SFC will issue a final warning to close the premises to stop the operation, failing which SFC and other agencies will enforce the law,” said Zolkipli.
Zolkipli reminded all swiftlet farm owners that they required licences to operate.
He cited Section 29(2) of the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998 which states that licences are needed to sell and be in possession of protected animals. Violating this could lead to a fine of RM10,000 and imprisonment for a year.
Under Section 33(2)(b) of the same ordinance, swiftlet farm owners need licences to operate, with violaters facing a fine of RM5,000.
Rule 18(a) of the Wild Life Protection Ordinance (Edible Birds’ Nest Rules, 1998) strictly prohibits swiftlet farms from being located on town land. A fine of RM3,000 or imprisonment for six months or both may be imposed on those violating the rule.
Swiftlet farms are also prohibited from being built on suburban land without written approval from the Divisional Superintendent of Land and Survey, as stated under Rule 18(b), the Wild Life Protection (Edible Birds’ Nest Rules, 1998)
SFC has been in charge of licensing and enforcement of the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998 since Jan 2020.
Zolkipli said SFC periodically receives public complaints due to the noise disturbance and nuisance caused by swiftlet farms.
To date, 119 licences have been issued for swiftlet farming in Sarikei Division, he disclosed. — DayakDaily