Monday, April 11, 2011

MPSP no to swiftlet licence

THERE are an estimated 2,000-odd illegal swiftlet nest farms in Seberang Prai, Penang. Of the number, 1,155 operators have submitted applications for licences from the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) but none has been approved so far, said MPSP councillor Steven Sim Chee Keong.

“The licence applications to operate swiftlet nest farms in Seberang Prai have been temporarily frozen. “We are still waiting for the state government to come up with specific guidelines on swiftlet nest farming in Penang,” he said during an operation to remove speakers from three illegal swiftlet nest farms in a shophouse block on Jalan Tembikai in Bukit Mertajam yesterday.

Sim said of the 1,155 farms which applied for licences, 1,051 were located in shophouses, 67 on agricultural land and 37 in residential houses. “They must submit building plans together with their licence applications. The licence approval will depend on endorsements from the Fire and Rescue Department and the council’s technical departments as well as the suitability of the farms’ locations,” he said.

Fellow councillor Oon Neow Aun said the council had so far issued licences to three swiftlet nest farms. He said such farms were only allowed to be built on agricultural land but not near padi fields and irrigation canals as the Drainage and Irrigation Department feared that bird droppings might pollute the waterway. On the enforcement yesterday, Oon said the council had issued several notices to the three swiftlet nest farm operators since June last year to lower the volume of their speakers following public complaints but this was ignored.

He said the council permitted operators to set their music volume at below 40db (decibels) but the sound levels recorded at the farms were above 66db. Oon said the enforcement against the operators were initiated under Section 82 (5) of the Local Government Act 1976 for causing nuisance. Eleven council enforcement officers, two council special squad members, six auxiliary policemen, three council Building Department officers and five council Health Department officers took part in the hour-long operation.

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