Customs Dept admits SOP "non-compliance" in Sibu chicken wing debacle

ADIB POVERA


KUCHING: The Customs Department admits that there was “minor non-compliance" with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) over the disposal of illegally-imported frozen chicken wings in Sibu, last month.

Its Director-General, Datuk T. Subromaniam, said this is the preliminary finding of the department's investigation team, which was formed to probe the case.

Subromaniam, however, stressed that it is too early for the department to reach any conclusion at this point, as a full report by the probe team is pending.

“I am waiting for the full report on the case, which is expected to be completed in two weeks' time.

“It is premature (to detain) anyone (at this point), including the officers involved and the appointed contractor.

“However, we stress that the department is not taking this case lightly, as it is a serious matter,” he told reporters at the launch of the Sarawak-level Customs Blue Ocean Strategy (CBOS) 3.0 here, today.

It was reported that the department transferred some 8.1 tonnes of the frozen chicken wings – which had been improperly buried in an empty plot of land at Telok Engkalat – to a waste disposal site in Kemuyang, last week.

The department began digging out the frozen chicken wings after discovering that nearby villagers were unearthing the food item on Apr 1.

The contraband poultry was confiscated from the Rajang Port here, on Feb 23. The chicken wings arrived in numerous boxes with labels indicating that they were from the Netherlands.

On a separate matter, the State Customs Department said it has collected more than RM3.4 billion in Goods and Services Tax (GST) from companies in the state until the end of last year, since the new taxation mechanism was introduced on Apr 1, 2015.