DUN passes bill to delegate power of DVS

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KUCHING, Nov 23: The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly today passed the Veterinary Public Health (amendment) Bill, 2022 to delegate the power of the Department Of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak in the fight against the spread of rabies.

Apart from delegating functions and duties to any public officer, the bill seeks to allow the authorisation of other persons by DVS to dispense veterinary drugs.

State Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister Datuk Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the rabies outbreak in Sarawak started in 2017 when the first human case was reported in the Serian district.

To date, a total of 72 areas in the state have been declared as rabies-infected areas.

Adding further, Dr Rundi said due to this outbreak, Sarawak has recently established the Immune Belt Enforcement team (IBET) to complement and support DVS in rabies control and conducting awareness programmes among communities.

“The amendment of this bill is very significant as it allows the authorisation of IBET personnel to assist DVS to administer vaccination and carry out the relevant statutory functions and duties of DVS to effectively eradicate rabies in Sarawak,” he said during the second reading of the bill during the third day of the 19th State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting here today.

Meanwhile,  Lo Khere Chiang (GPS-SUPP) when debating the bill said the deployment of IBET officers in assisting DVS will maximize coverage of rabies detection and surveillance program along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

IBET which is supervised by the State Security And Enforcement Unit (UKPN) has a membership of 108 people who are assigned to monitor 978 villages, farms, and control posts throughout Sarawak and its border areas. – TVS

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