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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — The government should ban all pork from Sabah from entering the peninsula to protect the local swine industry, PKR MP Sim Tze Tzin said today.
The former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister noted the outbreak of African Swine Flu (ASF) in the Sabah distinct of Pitas four days ago, and expressed alarm that the peninsula authorities had yet to take action when unlike their Sarawakian counterparts.
ASF is a highly contagious viral disease fatal to pigs but does not affect humans.
“The pork industry in Malaysia is worth about over RM5 billion and meets 90 per cent of the self sustainable level (SSL), or the domestic market in Malaysia. It is a huge industry in the agriculture sector.
“If the ASF spreads to peninsular Malaysia, it may cripple the industry like what happened in 1998 when the Nipah virus spread,” Sim who is Pakatan Harapan’s shadow agriculture and agro-based industry spokesman said in a statement.
He warned that thousands of breeders and workers risked losing their livelihoods if the ASF virus hit the peninsula.
“Therefore, I request serious attention from the agriculture and agro-based industry minister and to have immediate action enforced,” the former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry said.
He added that the government should already know the importance of isolating areas hit by outbreaks, after having to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic for a year.
Sim pointed out that even Sabah’s neighbour, Sarawak had immediately banned the importation of pork and pork products from Sabah following reports that eight out of 13 pigs sampled from Pitas, Sabah had tested positive for ASF.
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas advised Sarawakians against buying or bringing in pork and pork products from Sabah because of the ASF.