In view of that, the Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister said Sarawak is seeking help from universities such as Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on the matter.
“The UPM Bintulu Campus for example will create a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programme to produce more veterinary doctors from Sarawak,” he said at the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak 2023 Appreciation Ceremony at a hotel here Sunday night.
He said his ministry would give full support to UPM’s initiative as producing more veterinarians would help with the state’s Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030.
He added that the need for veterinarians was acute as DVS Sarawak was currently understaffed, adding that this was realised when the state was hit by the rabies outbreak, which is still ongoing, as well as the recent African Swine Fever (ASF).
“I don’t think many veterinary doctors from other states in the country are keen to transfer to Sarawak, which is why we need to create our own,” he said.
He, however, understood that DVS Sarawak was only created six years ago, which could be the reason why the department was understaffed.
“Sabah’s DVS for example has around 700 staff members while Sarawak’s DVS only has 270 staff members. Sabah’s department however has existed longer than ours,” he said.
Dr Rundi also said DVS Sarawak needs the full cooperation of local authorities, non-governmental organisations and dog owners to eliminate rabies in the state.
“It looks like we need better strategies to combat the outbreak. I think we need to place efforts to contain the rabies epidemic in the suburbs and then in the urban environment.
“That can, however, only be done with the cooperation of the city councils and the urban community,” he said.
During the same event, he presented the 2022 Excellent Service certificate, 2023 Retiree Appreciation certificate, and 2023 End of Contract Staff Appreciation certificate to DVS Sarawak’s current and former staff members.
Also present during the event were DVS Sarawak director Datu Dr Adrian Susin Ambud and other officials.