KUCHING, Sept 26 — Sarawak has established the Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) to curb the spread of rabies more proactively, especially in the country’s border areas.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said IBET was provided with sophisticated vehicles and equipment to enable them to carry out their duties in remote locations.

“The situation of rabies in this state is under control, but you cannot take things for granted because rabies can result in death. We have a relatively large area and our border is over 1,000 kilometres.

“These dogs can roam everywhere. Therefore, we need to cooperate with the locals or community leaders to identify pet or stray dogs,” he told a press conference after launching IBET here today.

He also said that every dog identified would be implanted with a chip to track their movements and enable the state government to obtain the data needed to curb rabies.

In his speech at the ceremony, Abang Johari said with all the preparations and equipment available, IBET will be able to protect the people of Sarawak from the threat of rabies brought by stray dogs from neighbouring countries, thus becoming a long-term solution to the problem.

IBET is supervised by the State Security and Enforcement Unit (UKPN) with a membership of 108 people who will be assigned to monitor 978 villages, farms and control posts throughout Sarawak and its border areas.

UKPN director, Datuk Dr Chai Khin Chung, who also spoke at the launching ceremony, said that between 2017 and 2022, Sarawak had recorded 45 cases of rabies which involved fatalities.

“Sarawak has witnessed an increase in the number of rabies cases, with 11 cases recorded as of September 2022, compared to 10 cases in 2021,” he said.

He also said that apart from the task of controlling rabies outbreaks, IBET is also ready for operations involving hand, foot, and mouth disease, African Swine Fever and other animal-borne diseases from time to time.


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