Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CM tells swiftlet farmers to raise issue with DPM

GEORGE TOWN: The National Council for Local Government is behind the ban on swiftlet farming in heritage areas and not the state government, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. He accused critics of “having ulterior motives” and “politicising the matter” for the Sarawak election “If they have the courage to protest sincerely and are not playing political games, they should protest to Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and not direct these (protests) to the state government,” he said.

Lim claimed that swiftlet farm- ing had become a hot issue as bird’s nest collection was popular in Sarawak. “Bird house operations are big in Sarawak and we (Pakatan Rakyat) are getting attacked on this issue,” he said.

In early September last year, Muhyiddin had announced that swiftlet farming would be prohibited in the Penang and Malacca heritage enclaves, with a three- year grace period given to existing operators. Meanwhile, Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng has renewed a challenge to the state government for an open debate over bird nests farming in the George Town heritage enclave.

Tan who quit PKR last year and is now a Kita member, said he issued a similar challenged to Local Government and Traffic Management committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, state Agriculture, Rural Development and Flood Mitigation committee chairman Law Choo Kiang and state Domestic Trade, Consumer and Religious Affairs committee chairman Abdul Malik Abul Kassim two years ago but they had kept mum.

Last week, some 50 swiftlet farm operators held banners and shouted slogans at Komtar Walk here against the ongoing move to get them out of George Town. When contacted, Chow and Abdul Malik declined to debate with Tan. Abdul Malik urged Tan to “open his mouth” at the Dewan Rakyat. Law could not be reached for comments.

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