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Why roasted duck, etc, not allowed in
Published on: Sunday, January 21, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Travellers, including locals returning from abroad, are advised not to bring animals or animal products at any airports in the State without a licence from the Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry (Dovsai).

State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin said Dovsai's Quarantine Unit recently detected and seized animal products such as roasted duck and others which were brought into Sabah via air travel at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).

"These products were brought by tourists or Sabahans returning from traveling from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan.

"The detention of these products, of course, cause dissatisfaction from the passengers where they will provide various reasons, some even behave abusively to the officers in charge," said Yahya at the local fruits and agro-based industries promotion programme to domestic and foreign tourists at the KKIA here, Saturday.

He said the government is striving to facilitate all the passengers' affairs but at the same time, the Government must also ensure that no seedlings or disease are brought in which could be to the detriment of the livestock industry in Sabah.

"The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) or Bird Flu is one of the most feared diseases because its not only can harm the poultry industry but it could also infect humans, he said.

Yahya said according to the latest World Organisation for Animal Health (OlE), the HPAl H5N6 disease cases were detected in China on Aug. 8, 2017, Taiwan on Dec. 26, 2017 and in Hong Kong on Dec. 29, the same year.

"I was also informed that there were passengers who claimed that the roasted ducks they carried, have gone through the heating process such as roasted and said that germ or disease viruses are dead.

"But if you take a look further and open the product, especially in the joints, it still looks reddish.

This reddish area is a suitable place for the development and reproduction of bacteria or viruses," he said.

According to the Animal Enactment 2015, no person can carry or import animals or animal products without a licence (Animal Enactment 2017 Item 15 (1), any offending person if convicted could be fined up to RM50,000 or jail term of up to two years or both, he said.

"We as one of the States in the country are still free from mouth and foot disease that is why we do not want animal products which might contain diseases from being brought into the State, said Yahya.

Yahya added that the same goes to agriculture products and advised local travellers against bringing seeds from other places which might contain disease and could affect the local agricultures.

"Any seedling should be barred or checked first by the Agriculture Department," he said.

Commenting on the Saturday event, Yahya said it was held at the KKIA to promote locals fruits such as Durian, Rambutan, Manggis to foreign tourists as the Sabah Tourism's early data showed an increase of 7.5 percent of tourists to Sabah in 2017 compared to 2016, with 3.7 million people last year.

He said Malaysians were recorded as the highest arrivals to the State with 2.5 million recorded landing at KKIA last year followed by tourists from China at 430,000, South Korea (311,000) and Indonesia (115,000).

"Not coincidentally, the highest number of tourists from four countries are also fans of Durian.

This gives a bright scenario to the farmers and fruit stalls here during this fruit season.

"It is also hoped that growers can seize the opportunity to sell their produce directly to the customers through the State and Federal agency such as agricultural Departments and Agencies such as Pasartani programmes and fresh fruit stalls under Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama)," he said.

Also present at the Saturday event, were Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai, Agriculture Department director Datuk Edrus Shafie and Sabah Fama director Hj Ribin Wahid.

The event was held by Fama in collaboration with Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry and Malaysia Airports Berhad. - Jo Ann Mool

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