(Dewan Rakyat, Thursday): It is most regrettable that the pig-rearing industry is still excluded from government assistance, especially the RM700 million Fund For Food scheme.
It is now clear that the pig-rearing industry catastrophe, resulting from the Nipah virus outbreak, including the 85 deaths in Bukit Pelanduk and Sikamat in Negri Sembilan were completely unnecessary and avoidable if we had a competent and efficient government.
As far back as October/November last year, a top local virologist had warned the Health Ministry that the killer virus might not be Japanese encephalitis (JE), and that it should be looking for another viral agent..
If the Health Ministry had taken such a warning seriously last October/November, and be on the lookout for another killer virus apart from JE, then all the Bukit Pelanduk and Sikamat deaths as a result of the Nipah virus and the ruin of the pig-rearing industry would not have happened and all the lives now lost in Negri Sembilan would have been spared.
This is why there had been a protest demonstration by pig farmers outside the MCA Headquarters a few days ago, for the government must bear responsibility for the completely unnecessary deaths and ruination of the pig-rearing industry as a result of its incompetence and negligence in mishandling the Nipah virus outbreak.
I had right from the beginning in early March called on the government to compensate the pig farmers RM200 for every pig destroyed. Now that it is very clear that the government must bear primary responsibility for the Nipah virus catastrophe, the government should compensate RM250 for every pig destroyed, instead of the present paltry figure of RM50.
DAP calls on the government to work out a special RM1 billion financial
rescue package to rescue the pig-rearing industry, comprising of the following
The government had said that the pig-rearing industry had been excluded from various government assistance schemes, such as the Fund For Food scheme, because pig-rearing is a very profitable industry and the pig-farmers need not depend on government assistance.
Such a reason is no more valid with the whole-sale destruction of the pig-rearing industry as a result of the Nipah virus disaster. For this reason, the government should ensure that the pig-rearing industry is now qualified to get government financial assistance, including the Fund for Food scheme, to rescue the industry.