KUCHING, April 5 ― Fearing widespread contamination, the Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) is sending its public health inspectors to investigate the mass dumping of three tonnes of chicken wings along a quarry road in Bukit Aup recently unearthed by villagers.
Its chairman Sempurai Petrus Ngelai said the council was concerned that some villagers might have consumed the meat said to have been buried several feet deep there since last Friday.
“I have instructed our public officers to stop the villagers from further digging out the chicken wings at the site,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
He advised villagers who are mostly Ibans from Sungai Aup against consuming the chicken wings dug up as they might be contaminated with toxic chemicals and to throw them away instead.
He urged those who had taken home the chicken wings to inform the council if they were unsure of how to dispose of the potentially hazardous meat.
Sempurai also said the council is roping in the help of police and other government agencies to investigate the dumping of the chicken wings by persons unknown as the vacant land did not appear to be a designated garbage disposal site.
He said the site is near the boundary with the Sibu Municipal Council and added that SRDC will be checking the identity of the landowners
“There must be reasons why they dumped the chicken wings there and we hope to get the answers when our health officers have completed their investigation,” he said.
Pictures of villagers digging up and lugging away sacks of the dressed chicken wings that had been tossed into a giant pit as deep as a man’s height started spreading on social media channels, especially on Facebook and WhatsApp earlier this week.
Deputy Sibu district police chief Superintendent Martin Khoo said the police were clueless on the mysterious dumping of the chicken wings as no one had filed any complaints to date.
However, he said the police took immediate action to close off the area at 6pm yesterday to prevent more villagers helping themselves in a seeming free-for-all chicken wings feast after spotting pictures on social media.
“When Sibu police saw the incident on social media, we took the initiative to control the area. I understand a meeting discussing how to deal with the issue was held this morning,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
He said the police had not started any investigation into the incident as there had yet to be any offence committed.
“That land in Bukit Aub is vacant. Whether or not it’s a disposal site will be determined by the land and survey office,” Khoo said, adding that the agency was currently holding a meeting on the matter.
In an update on the issue, national news agency Bernama reported the state Customs Department held an emergency meeting at its office on Jalan Deshon in Sibu this morning that was also attended by officials from other relevant government departments, including Sibu divisional health officer Dr Muhamad Rais Abdullah.
However, a news conference is scheduled to be held on the incident only tomorrow pending the arrival of Sarawak Customs director Ahmad Ji in Sibu.
According to Bernama, the discarded chicken wings are speculated to be from an imported shipment from the Netherlands confiscated by Customs enforcers at the Sibu Rajang Port.
The newswire added that a check on the Veterinary Service Department website showed Malaysia had banned the import of birds from that country last November 30, following an outbreak of bird flu there.