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KUCHING, Feb 22 — Sarawak today 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 African Swine Fever (ASF).
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas advised the public 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 a permit can be fined up to RM50,000 and/or imprisonment for two years as provided for under Section 9 of the Sarawak Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999,” he said in a statement.
He said the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak will also tighten biosecurity measures in the state especially in Limbang and intensify ASF disease surveillance throughout Sarawak.
He said the department has conducted several engagements and awareness sessions on ASF with the relevant stakeholders, such as farmers, importers, Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad and government agencies including the Customs Department, Immigration Department, port authorities and local councils in Sarawak.
“The department will also step up awareness campaign and regulatory measures to ensure the virus does not enter the state. Sarawak is still free from ASF,” he said.
According to Uggah, who is also the minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional, Sarawak has a total population of 30,000 sows producing 455,000 porkers annually worth RM455 million.
He said it is the state Department of Veterinary Services’ responsibility to ensure that the state continues to be free from animal diseases that are zoonotic and of economic importance.
“It will continue to enforce the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 to ensure pork and pork products imported are from ASF-free countries,” he added.