KOTA KINABALU: There is no existing law that empowers the Sabah Veterinary Services Department (DVS) to force a shutdown of an illegal pig farm located in Tamparuli, about 40kms from here.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is state Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Ministry, said that legal action had already been taken against the farm, resulting in a court-imposed fine for operating without a proper license under Rule 3(1) Control of Livestock Activities (Pig) Rules 2008.
The current regulations do not authorise the DVS to close the farm.
"I understand this may be frustrating for many and we are working tirelessly to resolve the situation.
"We are aware of the limitations of existing laws and are considering necessary changes in legislation to ensure stricter control over such activities in the future.
"This includes empowering the DVS with the authority to close farms that fail to adhere to regulations. We also acknowledge the need for higher penalties as a deterrent for non-compliance," he said.
However, Kitingan said that they were working and coordinating with other relevant agencies to address concerns raised by those affected by the illegal pig farm.
Kitingan said the ministry was in discussion with other agencies, including the Environment Department, Sabah Town and Regional Planning Department and the Land and Survey Department to implement a holistic solution to this issue.
He said he believed that a coordinated approach would be the most effective way to manage such challenges.
Affected residents in Tamparuli have complained of air and water pollution from waste discharge as well as noise pollution from animals and construction works.
"I understand the stress and discomfort caused by the farm's operations to nearby residents, especially those with health conditions.
He urged all stakeholders to abide by the rules and regulations set out by the authorities while waiting for the construction of the Pig Farming Area (PFA) in Sabah's central Tongod district.
The PFA is designed to accommodate the relocation of farms.