KUCHING: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii says he is “not impressed” with Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian for delaying the introduction of a bill to monitor dog ownership through pet microchip implants.
He said while he welcomes the Sarawak government’s initiative to table a bill in the November State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting to monitor dog ownership through pet microchip implants, he questioned what he described as excuses made by Dr Sim that more urgent matters such as the native customary rights (NCR) land issue, was the top priority.
“While I acknowledge the importance of the NCR issue not just for the Dayaks and Bumiputeras of Sarawak, the issue of proper disease and rabies outbreak control is also a matter of public importance affecting the lives of our people and our children.
“I welcome the implementation of this microchip which is a radio frequency implant that provides permanent identity for pets. This is to properly identify the pet owners so that we can keep them accountable and responsible for their dogs and animals in an attempt to address the issue of dog/pet dumping which contribute to the increase of stray dogs,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He added microchip implementation is important in order to control the stray animal population as there will always be irresponsible individuals who will continue to dump their pets.
Dr Yii stressed that extra effort needs to be made to have the bill tabled and debated in the DUN.
“In Parliament, what has been practised is that any minister or deputy minister can table a motion to extend the parliamentary session to late at night if needed, in order to debate matters of huge public importance.
“I was informed that in DUN Sarawak, the power lies with the Honourable Speaker to extend the sessions, especially to debate and approve important and needed measures with regards to matters of life and death such as this (rabies control).
“The next session where such a bill can be tabled is only in November – a few months from now – and it will then take more time for it to be implemented.
“This clearly shows the lack of urgency shown by the state government to properly deal with the (rabies) outbreak which was first detected in July of 2017,” he said.
According to him, there were initially only five villages in Serian declared as ‘rabies-infected’ but since then, the outbreak has spread to 36 areas in Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman, and Sarikei divisions.
“On top of that, there are 13 human victims who have fallen victim to this disease including the latest, a five-year-old boy from Mile 6 Penrissen Road,” he said.
He said it is important to address the core issue of irresponsible owners on top of any act of animal population control that will take place.
“The local council should further enforce dog licensing on top of the required microchip, so that a better control can be done in case of any outbreak.”
Dr Yii added that important elements of the federal Animal Welfare Act 2015 should also be incorporated into Sarawak laws, including the Cruelty to Animals (Prevention) Ordinance 1963, especially elements that aim to foster more responsible pet ownership among Malaysians.
“These provisions and other provisions in the Act is also important to make sure no inhumane treatment of dogs or animals even during the event of a disease outbreak.