Friday, March 22

More federal funding to fight rabies


Federal government to upgrade Kuching veterinary laboratory, approves RM3 million emergency fund

Dr Yii tabling motion the Emergency Motion in Parliament.

KUCHING: The government veterinary laboratory here will be upgraded to enable it to carry out testing to detect the rabies virus.

Currently all samples are sent to Ipoh, Perak for testing and carrying out the tests here would save logistical cost and the results would be known faster.

The fund for the upgrading will come from the allocation of RM18 million approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry to upgrade veterinary laboratory facilities in the nation.

On top of that, another RM3 million has been allocated specifically to assist Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVS) in curbing the spread of the rabies virus.

The fund will be used to cover the cost of vaccines and other necessities.

This was announced by Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Salahuddin Ayub, in Parliament yesterday in response to an Emergency Motion under Standing Order 18 (1) tabled by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii on the spread of rabies in Sarawak.

Dr Yii moved the motion following a report in thesundaypost recently quoting Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who leads the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, as saying the Federal Government has stopped sending veterinarians to assist in Sarawak’s fight against the spread of rabies.

According to Dr Yii’s press statement yesterday, Salahuddin was fully aware of the situation on the ground and is concerned about Sarawak’s lack of facilities and personnel to control the spread of rabies.

“Thus, in my debate I pushed for a clearer picture of the situation on the ground especially with regards to conflicting reports on the severity of the situation.

“I also urged the Federal government to assist and work together with Sarawak government to come up with a solution and an effective plan to address this issue as this involves lives and is beyond politics. As of now, 10 lives have been lost and that is 10 lives too many from a disease that could have been prevented and controlled better,” Dr Yii said.

Salahuddin promised that his ministry would respond to the situation and send manpower and other assistance to help curb the disease in the nearest future, he added and he promised to seek more allocations from the Cabinet if the need arises.

Dr Yii thanked the minister for his quick response on the matter and his concern for the issues in Sarawak.