Dr Rundi: Empowering IBET means more efficient fight against rabies
Posted on : 24 Nov 2022  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Dr Rundi (right) arrives at the DUN Complex, accompanied by Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn.

KUCHING (Nov 24): Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) officers under the Sarawak Security and Enforcement Unit will now be able to assist the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) to administer vaccination and carry out relevant statutory functions and duties of the State Veterinary Authority to effectively eradicate rabies in Sarawak following the passing of the Veterinary Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2022 yesterday.

Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said at the moment, IBET is only empowered to control the outbreak of rabies through awareness programmes.

“Currently, there are no existing provisions in the Veterinary Health Ordinance, 1999 to authorise and give due power to the IBET officers for vaccination of dogs and dispensing of veterinary drugs.

“That is the very reason why we need this amendment (to the Ordinance) so that we can have assistance during emergency outbreaks from IBET who have been trained to dispense drugs and carry out vaccination,” he said when winding up the Bill at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday.

Earlier when tabling the Bill, Dr Rundi said the amendment sought to give legal authority and power to IBET officers in performing their tasks and responsibilities of dispensing veterinary drugs and vaccination as stipulated in Section 57 of the Veterinary Health Ordinance, 1999.

“With the formation of IBET, we have 32 officers and they can be used to strengthen our fight against rabies.

“The team will assist DVSS to cover the whole length of Sarawak-Kalimantan border especially in vaccinating dogs at some 1,000 settlements or villages along the border, thus providing an effective strategy in preventing the spread of rabies in rural areas,” he said.

He also said that the role played by the IBET officers was very timely as the DVSS currently faced a shortage of manpower.

“So the amendment of this Bill is very significant to allow the authorisation of IBET officers to play the role to assist DVSS,” he added.

Four members debated on the Bill; namely Dr Simon Sinang Bada (GPS-Tebedu), Lo Khere Chiang (GPS-Batu Kitang), Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Padungan), and Billy Sujang (GPS-Opar).

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