HAVING given up on local councils for failing to respond to their issues with the way stray animals being handled, a coalition for animal welfare has called upon DAP vice-chairman Nga Kor Min to act.
President of Malaysia Animal Protection Society (MAPS) Karin Lee recently handed over a memorandum on stray management to the Minister of Local Government and Development.
In its memorandum submitted on July 26, the coalition has urged Nga to look at some key amendments to the circular (Bil 5 Tahun 2014) issued by the secretary-general to then urban wellbeing, housing and local government ministry.
“We are asking for a meeting with the minister soon,” Lee pointed out. “The said circular pre-dates the Animal Welfare Act 2015 and it has listed the many cases of cruelty we have seen in recent years.”
It is learnt that even the Tengku Permaisuri of Selangor, Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin in her capacity as patron of the Stray-Free Selangor campaign had on a few occasions urged both local council presidents and caretaker Selangor state exco for local government, public transport and new village development Ng Sze Han to look into the welfare of the stray animals.
Some local councils such as Sepang deserve the credit for setting up the cats’ sanctuary in Taman Tasik Cyberjaya in Sepang recently to house the stray furry animals.
But not every local council is paying attention to the call by the Tengku Permaisuri of Selangor. In the controversial case involving 69-year-old Patrick Khoo Kian Wui (main pic) who was injured by dog catchers from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), the senior citizen was charged in court for obstructing public servants from carrying out their duties.
Despite MBPJ mayor Mohamad Azhan Md Amir telling StarMetro on June 23 that both parties had agreed to withdraw the matter, the case is still going for case management the third round on Aug 18.
This has raised the red flag why on one hand the mayor said the controversy has been dealt with amicably yet the case is still ongoing.
Lack of funding
Netizens and animal lovers who watched the video clip that went viral had raised a lot of questions about the way how the said dog catcher, Azizul Azzim Norehan, conducted the operation.
They have said that the law which was used against a citizen who was merely trying to protect his animals from being dragged using a loop into the MBPJ van is a waste of the court’s time.
The Coalition of Animal Welfare NGOs (which comprises 14 animal welfare organisations) was formed recently to highlight the disappointing state of affairs of humane animal welfare management, the rise of abuse and cruelty cases and the seriousness in the law and punishment towards perpetrators.
“This is mainly because research shows that animal abuses are precursor to more serious crimes,” noted Lee.
According to her, these NGOs have sought to work with local governments because most of the volunteers are animal lovers themselves. However, they lack public funding to help local councils to solve the issue with stray population.
The NGOs only need about RM25,000 a month each if one local council adopts one animal welfare NGO (or an annual amount of RM3.6 mil for all 12 local councils in Selangor) to carry out the Trap–neuter–return (TNR) programme in the council area at the moment.
But caretaker state exco Ng had told them that the state government does not have such funding.
“Neither do the NGOs,” Lee told FocusM. “Our own fund-raising programmes are barely enough to feed the cats and dogs rescued from the community … we are unable to fund the TNR programme due to the high costs of doing the neutering.”
Boycott state election
Since their efforts at both local and state governments, their efforts are now focused on the federal minister as their last attempt to solve the long-standing issue with stray dogs and cats.
With many of these organisations based in Selangor, it is likely that if the issues are not handled well, it may affect the outcome of the Selangor state elections. Many of its supporters are now saying that they are planning to boycott the state election just to punish the three-term Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led state government.
This is the reason why some election candidates, including Ng, are suddenly showing that they care a lot for the animals but it is kind of late when the election is just around the corner.
Whether the “boycott” will cost PH in the Selangor state poll has yet to be seen but it appears like even a newbie like MUDA candidate for Bandar Utama, Abe Lim understands the importance of solving animal lovers’ grouses to widen her voting base.
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Lee said public support is needed to keep our animals in good hands. “The MAPS’ main objective is to improve animal welfare by working with the government to change policies and practices especially in managing stray population,” she added. – Aug 4, 2003
Main pic credit: My Forever Doggo