Malaysia: Malaysia Backs Off On Threat To Cull Pigs After Standoff With Ethnic Chinese Farmers
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- Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2007 16:55:21 +0800
Malaysia: Malaysia Backs Off On Threat To Cull Pigs After Standoff With Ethnic
Updated:2007-09-20 16:35:20 MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Malaysian authorities have suspended plans for a mass
culling of pigs owned by Chinese farmers, officials said Thursday (20 Sept),
averting a potential showdown in a dispute with racial overtones.
Ethnic Chinese politicians and community leaders persuaded the government of the
southern state of Malacca this week to extend an imminent deadline for the
slaughter for at least two weeks, Seah Kwi Tong, a state legislator, told The
"No action will be taken. There will be no culling this week," said Seah, who
belongs to the Malaysian Chinese Association, a key party in the country's
Authorities had ordered breeders to slash the numbers of their pigs from 153,000
to 48,000 by Friday, warning that remaining livestock would be slaughtered due
to residents' complaints about odors and pollution from farms.
The deadline was issued after a 4 Sept standoff when authorities tried to
forcibly start the cull in a village in Malacca and breeders barricaded their
farms to prevent police from coming in.
The issue has raised concerns about racial tensions in this Muslim-majority
nation. Virtually all pig farmers are ethnic Chinese, while many of the
residents who object to the swine are believed to be Malay Muslims. Pigs are
considered unclean in Islam.
Farmers have sold many pigs in recent weeks, but "they cannot reach the target,"
Another state lawmaker, Koh Nai Kwong, said there were still some 90,000 pigs in
more than 80 farms. Ten farms are expected to close permanently by the end of
September, and their owners may turn to cultivating palm oil or rearing cows and
goats, Koh said.
"We're trying to resolve the problem without conflict," Koh told the AP. "We
understand the farmers' feelings, because most of them have been in this
business for so many years."
Koh said the state government still hopes to cut the number of pigs to 48,000 by
early October, but he and Seah declined to say whether there would be any
forcible culling after that if the farmers fail to meet the figure.
Authorities say villagers and tourist resorts often complain about the smell
from the pig farms, and some allege that pig waste has been dumped into nearby
Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia's biggest pork producers, but pig rearing has
long been a sensitive issue for Malay Muslims, who comprise nearly 60% of the
country's 27 million people. Pig farms are mainly run by ethnic Chinese
Buddhists and Christians, who constitute about a quarter of the population. (By
SEAN YOONG/ AP)
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