Friday, December 11, 2009

Tap swiftlets potential


A STATE assemblyman yesterday proposed a novel way to help sundry shop operators adversely affected by the influx of hypermarkets. In debating the state 2010 Budget, Tee Siew Kiong (BN-Pulai Sebatang) said the government could kill two birds with one stone by allowing those affected to turn their premises into swiftlet hotels for bird nest farming.

He made the suggestion following the closure of many sundry shops which had failed to compete with hypermarkets, whose number was mushrooming in the state."Sundry shop operators stand to lose when pitched against hypermarkets as the latter have the capital to buy stocks in bulk and resell them at a much lower price than sundry shops," he said.By allowing and assisting the operators to turn their premises into swiftlet hotels, Tee said this would allow them to continue to earn a decent living."Bird's nest has a huge and lucrative market in China, Hong Kong and other international places, so I urge the government to give it special attention and tap its potential," he said.

Tee said he was thankful to the state government for bringing the matter to the Federal Government's attention.However, he said there was a need to have guidelines to govern swiftlet hotels which have become the subject of criticism by some residents because of noise pollution and hygiene problems.He said banks had also become aware of the potential of the industry and had started to finance such ventures."It could be very beneficial to the state economy as Malaysia exported RM1 billion worth of bird's nest last year, which was equivalent to five per cent of the world market for the product," he said.Tee also urged the government to simplify bird's nest exports and swiftlet hotel licensing so that the industry could grow even faster in the state.

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