KUCHING: Once the Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre (SIDC) is established, the Protection of Public Health Ordinance 1999 should be amended to broaden its scope and depth to enable the SIDC and local authorities to function as autonomous entities.
“I think local authorities should take this opportunity to strengthen their role in public health in Sarawak,” said Prof Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu Dawie Usop, public health specialist from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
He said it was good that Sarawak had kept the Protection of Public Health Ordinance 1999.
“For instance, we can see that funds from compounds issued by the local authority staff will go to the local authority instead of to the central fund of the federal government,” he said.
Dr Kiyu said this when speaking during the Virtual Roundtable on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Sarawak Local Authorities on Tuesday (Sept 21), organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing in partnership with Sarawak Development Institute (SDI).
He pointed out that the state government had approved RM200 million for the setting up of the SIDC, which was to be operational by 2024.
Meanwhile, Dr Jason Hon, Head of Sarawak Programme at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Malaysia, said that local authorities could work with agencies such as the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and WWF to curb illegal sales of wildlife meat.
“This is something we can look into and it will definitely help towards our SDGs in terms of ensuring good health and life on land, which is about preserving species,” he said during his talk.
Hon also urged people not to consume the meat of wild animals, adding that illegal sales of wild animals were still quite rampant in certain markets in the state.
“We never know what pathogens, bacteria, or viruses these could harbour and it is also illegal to consume any of these wild animals. It is best to leave them out in the wild,” he said.
He pointed out that the Sarawak Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 stipulated that no person shouldl sell or offer for sale or claim to be offering for sale any wild mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian or any recognisable part or derivative thereof.