: Some 1,023 farmers who were involved in a culling exercise of poultry to control the outbreak of the bird flu (H5N1) in Kelantan will receive compensation totalling RM413,004 before Aidilfitri.
Veterinary Services Department (VSD) director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam said the compensation was in lieu of the disposal of 55,451 poultry and 17,531 eggs, and would be paid according to the type of bird and egg culled.
"The payments will be made via bank transfer or by cash...the claims will be sent to the Kelantan VSD for processing and we will try to resolve the matter before the festive season," he told a press conference here Friday.
"However, we will continue to monitor the breeding of other birds, including taking their samples and conducting roadblocks to prevent the birds from being smuggled abroad," he emphasised.
He said throughout 72 days of monitoring by DSV, no cases of H5N1 were detected from tests carried out on 2,843 samples taken from the poultry of 565 breeders in Kelantan.
"However, we need to wait until the 90th day to gain permission from the World Organisation for Animal Health to declare Kelantan free from the outbreak," he said.
According to Quaza Nizamuddin, the declaration is important to reopen restrictions imposed on the export of local poultry abroad.
He said the impact of the restriction was hard-felt when China and Japan suspended the export of the products involved.
"However, we managed to discuss the matter with the authorities in Singapore as they understood our geographic location and allowed for the export of our poultry which they know were mostly from Johor and Negeri Sembilan,"
On the export of the swiftlet bird's nest to China that was also affected by the outbreak, he assured that business would resume as usual by next week.
Quaza Nizamuddin said five officials from China had come to Malaysia to evaluate H5N1 control methods implemented by local swiftlet bird's nest operators, in an effort to reopen the export of the product to their country.
"This industry is crucial to our country as the annual export return is RM134 million, and since the outbreak, we have not been able to export it there (China).
"As such, I have written to the Chinese authorities assuring that all 19 processing plants of bird's nest had passed the two requirements set, namely, all the products had undergone heat treatment and their staff had been sent for training," he explained.
Meanwhile, commenting on the outbreak of Haemorrhagic Septicaemia in Terengganu, Quaza Nizamuddin said the infection had resulted in the death of 273 livestock of buffaloes and cows in Marang and Rusila.
"As a precautionary measure, we have vaccinated 1,688 livestock to boost their resistance towards the infection. We aim to vaccinate up to 3,000 livestock in two of the areas involved," he said, adding that no new death cases had been reported since three days ago.
He said the infection was believed to have been brought on by pressure faced by the livestock due to sudden climate changes from hot to rainy season.
"It has been more than 10 years since this disease occurred in Terengganu. Thus, to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas, the department will also monitor livestock brought out of the area," he added.