PETALING JAYA: Those importing fish products from Japan must adhere to procedures and regulations to ensure they are safe for consumption, says the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry.
"All import consignments must apply for an import permit from the Malaysian Quarantine Inspection Services Department (Maqis) and adhere to the conditions as stated by the Fisheries Department," the ministry said in a statement on Monday. (Aug 28)
Apart from this, importers of fish products from Japan must also ensure that each consignment is issued with a health certificate by the Japanese authorities.
The ministry added that the Fisheries Department will also ensure that live marine fish imported from Japan are free from radionuclide contamination.
"The ministry through the Fisheries Department, Fisheries Development Board and Maqis will cooperate with the Health Ministry to ensure that fish products in the market are free from contaminants," added the ministry.
The precautionary steps by the ministry come following worries raised by several quarters here over the safety of fish products imported from Japan following the release of contaminated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday (Aug 24).
Authorities in Japan are scheduled to discharge 1.3 million tonnes of wastewater over the next 30 years from the Fukushima nuclear plant located about 250km north of Tokyo.
This was done after three reactors at the nuclear plant were damaged by a tsunami triggered by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake in 2011.
The announcement by the Japanese government on the water release had prompted an angry response from China and South Korea and even partial import bans on Japanese seafood by Hong Kong and Macau.
Last Wednesday (Aug 23), the Health Ministry announced that it would impose a Level 4 (Surveillance) inspection on high-risk food products imported from Japan.
On Sunday (Aug 27), a "Raise Your Voice, Stop the Discharge of Nuclear Wastewater into the Ocean" mass petition was held at the Nirvana Memorial Garden in Semenyih, Selangor.
It was held concurrently with the annual Zhong Yuan enlightenment ceremony, an event to remember ancestors, advocate filial piety and pay tribute to the departed.
Similar petition drives will be held at Nirvana Centre Kuala Lumpur on Sept 2 and 3, Nirvana Memorial Park in Klang on Sept 3 and in Shah Alam on Sept 9 and 10.
The petition has so far received tens of thousands of signatures from Malaysians which will be handed over to the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, the Fisheries Department said that Malaysia imports frozen sardine and mackerel from Japan meant for consumption.
"As for live fish, Malaysia only imports freshwater ornamental fish such as the Koi.
"The import of live fish only involves ornamental freshwater fish and not marine fish," the department added.