Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wildlife Dept to head panel on swiftlet farming

April 28, 2010, Wednesday

KOTA KINABALU: The Tourism, Environment and Culture Ministry has made a provision of RM100,000 to facilitate a detailed study by a steering committee tasked with preparing a comprehensive set of guidelines for swiftlets farming in Sabah.Disclosing this yesterday, the minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, said the chairman of the committee shall be from the Department of Wildlife, which according to him is more practical.

The result of the study would be used to formulate an overall set of guidelines on the administration and management of swiflet farming activities in the state.

An important component of the committee, he said, would be representatives from the local authorities that are responsible for the proper use of shops and other commercial buildings.

“The issue that is most important, is not what or whether to have swiftlets farming, it is the issue of where to have such an enterprise,” he added.

“When the issue is wealth creation, then what is the purpose of it in the first place if such wealth creation opportunities make some other people’s life a misery? “For instance, if a swiflet farm were located next to a hotel, then the hotel owners would be at a disadvantage,” he explained.

The Wildlife Department that is responsible for the harvest of birds’ nests produced by natural swiftlets at caves in Sabah under a set of rules and regulations comes under the ministry.

Lately, there had been a public debate on swiflets farming as a lucrative enterprise under controlled environment.

The State Government recently ruled that such activities should be kept away from cities, towns and densely populated areas.

The matter was also brought up for discussion on several occasions during the State Legislative Assembly sessions last week when a government member stated that the government had no intention to curb or deter the growth of swiftlet farming.

Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim has also stressed that swiftlet farming must not be carried out in commercial areas and cannot operate in shop houses.

In an interview yesterday, Masidi noted that the government had spent a lot to turn the state capital into “a very liveable city”.

“We are not going to allow the farming of swiflets to turn the City of Kota Kinabalu into a Gotham City of Batsman.

Moreover, he pointed out, downtown KK is also along the flight path.

This being the case, it would be a big risk if large colonies of swiflets were invited into the city centre as a result of such farms.

“These birds could become a hazard for the planes that fly past the city for landing at the KKIA,” he said.

In his winding up speech at the Assembly meeting last Thursday, Masidi had said that the state government would ensure that the development of swiflet farming is controlled.

The minister said that in terms of regulations, the relevant government agencies would see to it that the farming activities would not affect the natural population of swiflets in the state.

“At the same time, the farming activities should not put at risk the people’s health, especially those living close to the building where birds are reared,” he had said


  1. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................

  2. Dear Dr. Adrian

    The statement from Sabah Tourism, Environment and Culture Ministry is relevant to Swiftlet ranging in Sabah and I believed is that same as Sarawak State Government. However Swiftlets rangers in Sarawak are still appealing for review of Sarawak Government's Policy on Swiftlef ranging in urban areas even though the State Government had repeated through Forestry Dept stated that wiftlet ranging must be in approved zones. Not an easy issue to resolve unless the State Government can quickly prove and convince existng and potential rangers that swiftlet ranging in rural areas is possible and more conducive as compared to urban settings. Dr. Francis Sia

  3. Dear Dr Francis Sia,

    Thank you for your view and comment. In fact the Department now is implementing federal project on swiftlet in the rural area to eradicate poverty and for hard core poor families. The most suitable areas are at Asajaya, Sebuyau, Pusa and Mukah. We have not get forestry opinion on this yet but SEDC has come out with an ambitious ecopark concept in Balingian.