KUCHING (Feb 22): Sarawak is enforcing an import ban on pig, pork and pork products from Sabah with immediate effect following recent news reports that eight out of 13 pigs sampled from Pitas, Sabah were tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF).
Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the ban is enforced under Section 8 of the Sarawak Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999.
He cautioned that any person who was caught violating the ban would face a fine up to RM50,000 or a maximum jail time of two years.
“Public are advised not to buy or bring in any pork and pork products from Sabah or any neighbouring countries.
“Anyone who contravenes this Import Ban Order or imports any animal or animal product without permit (Section 9) commits an offence and can be fined up to RM50,000 and/or imprisonment for two years,” he said in a statement today.
Uggah, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) would also tighten biosecurity measures in the state especially in Limbang and intensify ASF disease surveillance throughout Sarawak.
According to him, DVSS has conducted several engagement and awareness sessions on ASF with the relevant stakeholders such as farmers, importers, Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad as well as government agencies including Customs, Immigration, Port Authorities and Local Councils in Sarawak.
He said DVSS would also step up awareness campaign and regulatory measures to ensure the virus does not enter the state.
He added that Sarawak is still free from ASF.
“Sarawak has a total population of 30,000 sows producing 455,000 porkers annually worth RM455 million. It is DVSS’ responsibility to ensure that the state continue to be free from animal diseases which are zoonotic and of economic importance.
“DVSS will continue to enforce the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 to ensure pork and pork products imported are from ASF-free countries,” Uggah assured.
On Saturday, the Sabah Department of Veterinary Services linked the recent deaths of scores of pigs in Pitas district to a possible outbreak of the deadly ASF.
Despite so, Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also Agriculture and Fisheries Minister of Sabah, said further tests would still have to be carried out to confirm it.
“Initial tests showed that eight of the 13 samples collected from the pigs in Pitas showed positive results for ASF. Currently, the Department of Veterinary Services in Putrajaya is conducting the confirmatory tests for this disease via DNA sequencing and we should be able to get the results in a day or two,” he said in a statement.