Babi Dipolitikkan?

Nukilan Khairul Faizi bin Ahmad Kamil | 4/16/2008 05:37:00 PM | 0 Pandangan »

Tanpa dirancang, tiba-tiba isu penternakan babi di Ladang Tumbuk, Kuala Langat menjadi perhatian semua golongan masyarakat yang terkejut dengan keputusan kerajaan negeri Selangor pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat bersetuju untuk mewujudkan pusat penternakan babi yang menelan belanja sebanyak RM 100 juta.

Bermula daripada keputusan kerajaan Selangor tersebut pelbagai pandangan, protes, kritikan dan tohmahan dilemparkan termasuklah kepada PAS yang dikatakan gagal menyekat Menteri Besar Selangor daripada PKR.
Saya belum berkesempatan untuk membuat analisis terhadap isu ini tetapi ada baiknya anda membaca rencana tulisan Stanley Koh yang disiarkan dalam Malaysiakini untuk membuat penilaian terhadap isu ini.

Pigs, politicking and pacesetters - Malaysiakini
Stanley Koh Apr 16, 08 4:13pm

analysis Expectations are running high among Chinese Malaysians and the pig-farming community, as the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government of Selangor goes about showing Barisan Nasional (BN) how to manage the industry.

More so, when the BN state government has failed to implement its ambitious plan - devised in 2003 - to regulate and revamp the multi-billion ringgit industry by creating pig-farming areas (PFAs).

This has drawn many accusations and complaints against the BN over its lack of sincerity and political will, and for exploiting the issue for political purposes.

The Ladang Tumbuk project in Kuala Langat (map below), recently approved by the PR Selangor government, is being viewed with great optimism by those affected.

Some quarters in BN have continued treating pig-rearing as a dirty industry, exploiting cultural sensitivity and politicising it as an issue to mobilise race-based support.

Pig farming has been treated like a political football, with state governments pushing the responsibility to their federal counterparts, although they are responsible for allocation of land for designation of PFAs.

The announcement in 2003 to close existing pig-farms by Dec 31 - and allowing only those under the PFA concept to continue - triggered both panic and consternation.

There has been an urgent need to re-organise and modernise the industry in line after the Nipah viral encephalitis epidemic in 1998-1999, especially since it affects the needs of some 48 percent of the population.

The epidemic caused the loss of some RM450 million in foreign revenue and output of RM600 million worth of pigs annually.

About 950 farms were forced to close, more than 60 percent of the pigs were culled, and infrastructure was destroyed. Some 100 people died from the virus, comprising farm workers, farmers, butchers and workers, while about 5,000 workers lost their jobs from the closure of the farms.

Recommendations ignored

As early as August 2000, the MCA central leadership set up a special committee to deliberate on government policies on the industry.

The seven-member committee headed by Poh Ah Thiam dealt with the matter at length. Among its recommendations was that the federal government should give policy direction to the relevant states to set up PFAs by allocating suitable sites either free or subsidised at 50 percent of the land cost.

The committee also evaluated the agriculture ministry’s proposal on the future of pig farming, particularly the unfavourable clauses, and to study the Danish experience in the industry.

Also in 2000, the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia submitted a memorandum to the federal government, urging the enforcement of the PFA policy and seeking cooperation from state governments to provide land and long-term licences for pig farming.

It also proposed the creation of a National Swine Producers Council to manage the industry’s transformation.

The council would comprise representatives from the government, pig farmers’ association and consumer representatives.

Its functions would include production regulations, disease surveillance, research and planning, education and training, and effective measures against illegal import and bio-chemical stock feeds. Malaysians have been kept in the dark about government efforts since 2003.

On Sept 2 last year, however, matters came to a head again.About 2,000 Federal Reserve Unit armed with machine guns faced off pig farmers in Malacca, over a culling operation brought on mainly by pollution problems.

After a five-hour stand-off, the state government called off the operation and farmers agreed to a Sept 21 deadline to reduce the pig population from 140,000 to 48,000.

The Federal of Chinese Association of Malaysia appealed to MCA and Gerakan for help to resolve the matter, given the short deadline set for the voluntary culling operation.

On Oct 3, the government extended the deadline after a meeting between MCA and Deputy Prime Mnister Najib Abdul Razak.

Malaysia was 133 percent self-sufficient before the Nipah virus outbreak, with exports to Singapore and neighbouring countries.

Today, the output level has dropped, but is still at a healthy 100 percent. The industry view is that the government should regard the activities from an economic viewpoint, as a revenue generator that also provides gainful employment.

It is therefore refreshing that the Selangor government has taken a positive step and shown the right attitude to such operations. In doing so, it has also displayed political wisdom that has neatly avoided the pitfalls of politicking.

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