Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Issue From Swiflet Industry

skip to main | skip to sidebar With The Permission Of The Writer, Mr David Lim. I Shared This Updated Report Here.
REPORT ON THE MALAYSIA SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY ISSUES.

RESEARCHED AND WRITTEN 2002 BY DAVID LIM Y.C. AND REVISED AND UPDATED ON 2005 AND 2008 TOGETHER WITH COMMITTEE MEMBERS OF THE PROTEMPT PERSATUAN PEMILIK RUMAH SARANG BURUNG MALAYSIA (THE MALAYSIA BIRD’S NEST HOUSE OWNER ASSOCIATION). (Nov 2008 updated) David Lim : 012-4850778



This report is the study, research and factual findings gathered from views, proposals, experiences, visions and information contributed by the various experts involved directly in the bird-nest industry. It depicts the present actual situation, the dilemma and problems faced with proposed solutions, the potential and the prospect of the industry.

The author welcomes and appreciates any further input made to him. No part of this report may be altered to deviate from its original meaning for any purpose or usage without the prior consent of the copyright owner.

The purpose of this report is to assist and enable those interested parties especially those who have never involved in this industry,such as the new investers, the government officials, the politicians etc to gain a first hand information, comprehensive knowledge and in-depth understanding about the whole bird-nest industry before deriving to making decision or conclusion.



A. THE OBJECTIVES FOR THE MALAYSIA SWIFLET NEST INDUSTRY



A-1 ABSTRACT OF REPORT ON MALAYSIA SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY



B. THE ANATOMY OF THE MALAYSIA BIRD NEST INDUSTRY.


C. HISTORY OF THE SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA AND THE REASONS FOR ITS RECENT IMPETUOUS BOOM.



D. THE DEFINITION OF A ‘SUCCESSFUL SWIFTLET HOUSE’ IN THE SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY.



E. THE 5 BASIC KEY FACTORS OR ELEMENTS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE SUCCESS OF A MODERN SWIFTLET HOUSE.




F. THE POSITIVE KEY ROLES PLAYED BY THE RELEVANT AUTHORITIES AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN THE SUPPORT FOR THE MALAYSIA SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY IN ACHIEVING THE OBJECTIVES SET FOR.



G. THE COMMON NUISANCES AND PROBLEMS CAUSED BY SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY AND THE RECOMMENDED SOLUTIONS.



H. ADDITIONAL POINTS AND OPINIONS FOR CONSIDERATION



I. CONCLUSION



J. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT





A. THE OBJECTIVES FOR THE MALAYSIA SWIFTLET

NEST INDUSTRY



To encourage, assist, facilitate and ensure the smooth development and the flourish of the swiftlet nest industry by permitting the owners to convert the abandoned and unproductive buildings or floor spaces into the productive swiftlet houses in the country under the proper control and supervision of the authorized agencies with the due consideration as not to cause the unnecessary nuisances, inconveniences and negative impacts to the neighbour-hood and the environment.


(ii) To tap the potential and to promote the sustainable use of the new agricultural resource discovered, i.e. the edible swiftlet nests, (like the existing rubber and palm oil) for the benefit of the country’s economy.



(iii) To help to increase production/supply to meet the ever increasing demand of foreign consumption such as in China, Taiwan, all China Towns in the world etc, where this is the only industry which they can not do in their own countries as this industry could only thrive in tropical regions, and thus, no way they could copy and affect us like in other industries such as, electronic, garment manufacturing sectors etc.



(iv) To encourage and facilitate the exportation of the swiftlet nests either in raw or in the finished product form to generate the much needed foreign exchange and revenue for the economy of the country.




(v) To generate and create more job opportunities by encouraging and facilitating the swiftlet nest industry to move further into down stream cottage industry such as bird’s nest cleaning and processing in the rural areas.. Thus, to help alleviate the pressure of increased unemployment rate faced by the country in particularly to the kampong folks due to the withdrawal of the foreign investments and the manufacturing sectors resulted by the tough competition of cheaper labor from China and other neighboring developing countries which gradually caused our economy slow down.



(vi) To increase awareness and educate the public in general with AWARENESS program on the importance of ecological balance of this protected species to the environment, thus to help the PERHILITAN to increase the number of the reduced swiftlets in the long term to improve ecological balance.



(vii) To promote our country be land-marked as a significant producer and international trading centre for bird-nests globally.















A-1 ABSTRACT OF REPORT ON THE MALAYSIA SWIFTLET INDUSTRY ISSUES



Swiftlet nest or bird-nest commonly known for its delicacies, high nutrition and medicinal value by many Asian countries like China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Asia Pacific have been under explored by us in Malaysia. The potential of it provides vast commercial viability and environment balance with the complementary of Malaysia highly suitable climate and environment. As a result the needs for appropriate studies and research have been called for by interested and adventurous investors and owners of private dwelling to better use the abandoned properties which have become burden and sore-eye due to current prolonged economic turmoil.



In principle, with many appreciated contributors, this proposed study encompasses author’s research and findings on the possible development of birds nest industry in Malaysia. The study highlights the objectives for the development of this potential industry.



It also briefly touches on the anatomy of swiftlet nest farming including historical events leading to the boom of this industry. In addition, it identifies reasons for its growing industry and compares the percentage of its production rates with the other producing countries.



The study goes on to define the stages of success in swiftlet farming with its management program.



Topic E provides readers with some guidelines on its techniques to create suitable environment for successful farming. It provides five (5) major contributing factors to establishing an acceptable and ideal human-designed environment to attract swiftlets to create bird nests.



The research further reflects on the importance of positive key roles played by relevant parties such as local governments, councils, veterinary departments, wildlife authorities, health ministry, etc.



In topic H, the author advises on the common nuisance caused and the hazardous effect of swiftlets dropping and recommends solutions to effectively handle the anticipated problems.



In the final chapters, the author concludes the study’s findings by summarizing the actions and recommendation necessary to promote and establish the birds nests industry in Malaysia with additional points and opinions for the ministry and public consideration.












B. THE ANATOMY OF THE MALAYSIA BIRD NEST INDUSTRY



What the swiftlet house owners do is to create or emulate an alternative roosting and nesting place for the swiftlets by converting an unused and unproductive house with minimum renovations and cost.


Many people are familiar with the Apiculture or the bee-rearing. Swiftlet farming is an analogy but instead of a hive, the farmer builds or renovates a building to let the swiftlets stay (like the bees in a box hive). The swiftlets are free to fly in and out of the house to look for their own food, (insects). Just like bees that are free to roam to find and collect pollens and nectar. They only come back to sleep and make nests. No feeding cost is involved.


Generally, a professionally constructed swiftlet house is very difficult to be differentiated from any ordinary shop-houses. All the conspicuous ones which defy most council’s rulings and by-laws (e.g. completely sealed or bricked window panels with many pot holes all over) are badly designed or constructed by people with little knowledge of this industry.


Not all the swiftlet house is the same. Those clearly visible ones are mostly ill-designed with sub-standard methodology. The professionally designed ones are extremely difficult to detect, and the recorded swiftlet voice is so soft that you hardly hear it because the speakers are all directed skywards. The entrance is also very difficult to be seen as it is secluded. Except that you could find a large flock of swiftlets hovering above the building.


In most cases, the construction or usage of ponds is obsolete. Innovative and modern equipments can substitute the ponds yet able to maintain the relatively high humidity needed in a cleaner environment.


Practice of good hygiene inside a swiftlet house creates a healthy environment that could attract more swiftlets and thus sustains a more than normal rapid population growth inside the swiftlet house. Dirty and filthy environment actually disliked by the swiftlets (latest findings). The practice of placing of guano or bird droppings inside a new swiftlet house to create the smell to attract new swiftlets is actually a layman misconception and is obsolete. The professionals do not practice it. In fact, for a professionally and well managed swiftlet house, the owner collects the guano, scraps and cleans very regularly to the extent that disinfectants and pesticides are used to maintain a very hygienic environment for the swiftlets as far as he could in order to attract more swiftlets to help increase his revenue. The guano collected is well sought after by the organic planters and is sold at RM4.00 per kilo. Another good source of side income.


Most of the information written above is actually the trade secrets and techniques practiced of the experienced and successful swiftlet house owners. Under normal circumstances, no owner would want to divulge to others unless compelled to for a specific purpose.
C. HISTORY OF THE SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA AND THE REASONS FOR ITS RECENT IMPETUOUS BOOM.



Edible birdnest industry has been in existence for the past 100 years in the tropical region with Indonesia being the leading producing country accounting for 60% to 70% of world total yearly output worth’s Billions in USD. The other countries are the Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma,Cambodia,Laos and Malaysia. Malaysia’s production accounts for a mere 3% to 5 % by 2000, mainly from the caves in East Malaysia.


In Indonesia alone exists no less than 500,000 birdhouses. The same Birdhouse industry has also been in existence in the Peninsular Malaysia for more than 50 years except that the number of birdhouses which are mainly accounted for less than 100 found scattered all over Malaysia in 1990’s. Most of these birdhouses are found in abandoned pre-war or colonial buildings along the coastal townships. These are almost natural occurrences with some, no less than 50 years of history. Very little renovation or technique was used to enhance the population growth of the swiftlets. The owners simply considered themselves to be the lucky ones that the birds chose their buildings to roost. No body had the technology or know-how to lure the swiftlets into the houses as what we know of today. So those lucky few had been quietly enjoying the god-sent or divine wealth in a very low profile manner with others to envy at.


c. Not until after the recent political instability and the social chaos and the racial suppression in 1998 that many Indonesian entrepreneurs cum refugees shifted their funds to West Malaysia. Due to the 1997 economic crisis that caused the slump in the local over supplied property market to the extent that the value of the properties had dwindled to almost half that the local property market had become so cheap. These Indonesian started to joint venture with the locals and with the technologies and know-how brought by them invested in the properties and converted many vacant and unproductive buildings into the modern birdhouses that we know of today.



d. Due to the facts that these investors were the pioneers in this industry as their investments’ success rate was rather high. This has alerted the locals especially those empty and unproductive building owners who were facing bank foreclosing and some were literally a bankrupt that this could be a way out for them in this bad economy. They rushed into Indonesia to learn up the trade secret and the technology. When they returned, they started to turn their unproductive properties into the swiftlet houses with daily prayers to the god and the hope that the miracles happen..



Therefore, in only a few years, estimated 15,000 to 20,000 (as at 2005) units of modern birdhouses with combined value of more than RM 4.5 billion have sprouted spontaneously across the whole Peninsular Malaysia. In fact, unwittingly, this new industry has also indirectly helped our Malaysia’s dwindling economy in particularly the ailing property market to a large extent. Today, at 2008, the number of birdhouses is estimated at around 100,000 units at an average value of RM 500,000/unit with a total investment of more than RM 50 billion and the number is still growing with many big Boys such as the Public listed companies and the Govt linked companies coming into the market strongly. And now, we are talking of ECO-PARKS on the outskirts. (100,000units X RM 500,000 =RM50,000,000,000 =RM 50 Billion. The annual return is 100,000units X 2kg/month=200,000kg/mth X RM 4,000 =RM800,000,000/mth X 12 months =RM 9,600,000,000 or RM 9.6 Billion of foreign revenue for Malaysia annually)


The value of properties at its height prior to the 1997 economic crisis had slashed to even below half in 2003. Examples are, for a 4 storey shop-houses of RM600,000 to RM350,000, a 3 storey shop-house of RM300,000 to RM140,000, the monthly rental of an average of RM2,000 previously down to RM900, and sometimes, yet no taker. Many property owners due to the loss in rental revenue and with the heavy loan commitment and high maintenance cost, being pressured to the extent of suffering from nervous breakdown and sometime cry without tears. Instead of owning assets, these had become burdens and nightmares. If it were to happen in the Western countries, the governments would have stepped in to help by providing financial subsidies or means to the owners.


After the de-control of the rent control Act for the protection of the pre-war buildings that came into effect on 01.01.2000, tens of thousands of these buildings being vacated and returned to the landlords, these further aggravated the situation for the badly stricken property market. Rows and rows of modern shop houses completed with Certificate of Fitness particularly in the new townships and in the housing estates across the country are left unoccupied and idled with windows, doors and internal amenities broken and ransacked. The whole scenario looks ghostly. Many of these properties are under receivership with the owners bankrupted. In Penang Island alone, more than three thousands pre-war buildings abandoned and some turned ramshackle and became heaven for drug addicts and illegal activities. Some became decayed and fire hazards due to lack of maintenance.(As at 2008, there are no less than 3,000 and 300 birdhouses on the main land and the Island respectively in the State of Penang alone with a combined value of no less than RM1.65 Billion. The annual return is based on an average of 2kg of nest produced per month per birdhouse, therefore, 3,300 units X 2kg =6,600 kg X RM 4,000 = RM 26,400,000/month X 12 months =RM 316,800,000 or RM 316.8 million of foreign revenue cum income to the locals of Penang for year 2008 alone. The yearly increase of production of nests is ranging from 20% to 80% depending on the conditions and size of the bird house. )


With the recent surge in the swiftlet nest industry, many owners are saved in a way, at least temporarily with a hope to get out of the present awkward predicament in the near future provided with some luck.


This new agricultural industry has directly or indirectly benefited the other peripheral industries, trades and services too, such as the financial institutions, legal firms, building industry, hardware, electrical, electronic, local airlines, hotel, tourism, Eco-tourism, living heritage etc.


Most importantly, this new agricultural industry increased in the country’s foreign exchange revenue and thus helped to alleviate the pressure on the present dwindling economy. As at 2008, the production is estimated to hit RM 9.6 billion with 95% in raw and processed form meant for export to exchange for the foreign revenue. Soon, the bird’s nest production will overtake the production of tin ore to become Malaysia’s 4th largest export next to petroleum, palm oil, and rubber.


Nevertheless, despite all these positive aspects and the benefits, there is bound to have a certain minor negative aspects resulted from this rather impetuous booming industry such as the nuisances, health hazards and the inconsiderate illegal constructions created by the unscrupulous owners needed to be tackled and addressed.


Therefore, an official guideline for the industry is rather imminent and urgent to be formulated by the relevant authorities to check and monitor the situation. These guidelines should not be too stringent and demanding for fear of, instead of assisting and facilitating the industry to grow and develop to tap the potential for the benefit of the country, dwarfing and crippling it. The guidelines should be very straight forward and simplified. And the people drafting it should have an open, positive, supportive and sincere mind and also without bias. Most importantly, they must be professional and experienced enough to have a real in depth study and knowledge and full understanding about the trade from all angles to make independent judgments and positive stage by stage proposals to benefit the whole industry and the country at large.








D. THE DEFINITION OF A “SUCCESSFUL SWIFTLET HOUSE” IN THE SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY.




Generally, to the professional and experienced a swiftlet house is deemed successful in three stages. Successful in the luring in the first pair of birds to live inside the house, successful in having enough of birds to yield the minimum quantity of nests to justify the monthly maintenance cost, and the successful in the final stage of having the extra after minusing the maintenance cost, ie. The profit. Only upon achieving of success in the final stage, then only could we say that particular swiftlet house is successful and worth the investment and effort.


The first stage of success is determined when the house has managed to attract the first pair of swiftlets to roost and live permanently inside the house. The duration from the day it starts to broadcast the recorded swiftlet voice till the first pair to live in varies from one month to a year or longer (some birdhouses may never arrive to this stage at all). It all depends on the house’s internal conditions, the technique used, the location, the environment and most importantly whether there is enough of swiftlet population in the area.


The second stage of success is determined whether the house has managed to attract enough of swiftlets to produce the minimum quantity of nests to yield the revenue enough to offset the monthly maintenance cost. Averagely it takes about 600 birds per floor to do that. After having the extra, then only we consider the house is entering the final stage. If we take this to be considered justified for an investment of an average size of a single floored birdhouse, then we must look into the duration period that it takes from the first stage to the second stage. From our experience, the duration taken varies from 3 to 5 years or even longer. (This period, we call it GESTATION.) Hence, it takes an average of 4 to 6 years for a birdhouse to “mature” to justify the investment under normal favourable conditions and circumstances. Nevertheless, with the more and more new birdhouses sprouting up these days, the population of swiftlets in the sky turns one fold yearly and the number of new birdhouses increases by 5 to 6 folds yearly, we are afraid that the future of the late comers may not be that optimistic at all. The duration (GESTATION) taken may even drag much longer. We wonder whether some investors could have the stamina to withstand the long wait. Presently from our experience and knowledge, only less than 30% to 50% of the birdhouses are considered “successful”, in fact, these belong to the pioneers and early birds. Due to increase in competition, the rest are still waiting and praying to reach the first stage. From the latest information received that there is already quite a number of information received that there is already quite a number of rather new birdhouses being voluntarily closed down by the investors themselves due to the failure in luring in the swiftlets. These birdhouses are mainly the rented buildings, with wrong designs. Anyway, this is a democratic and free market, fittest survive.









E. THE 5 BASIC KEY FACTORS OR ELEMENTS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE “SUCCESS” OF A MODERN SWIFTLET HOUSE




Basically, there are 5 main factors which are dispensable or imperative in the designing and constructing of a potentially successful swiftlet house. Lacking either of the 5 factors would definitely render the intended birdhouse a failure.


Darkness
Low temperature
High humidity
Undisturbed and totally protected environment
Recorded swiftlet flock voice


In order to achieve an almost complete darkness inside an intended birdhouse, most of the openings including windows and doors must be closed or covered to shield away any intruding light source.


To achieve and maintain a constant LOW temperature round the clock, insulating materials or agents would have to be used. Ventilation of air- flow would be monitored so as not to let the temperature to fluctuate too much.


To achieve and maintain high humidity inside a birdhouse, water would have to be used. For the obsolete methodology before the introduction of the electrical humidifier, cemented ponds, plastic pails or water containers were used to contain water to create the high humidity inside the birdhouse. Actually, these ponds and containers are rather costly to build and troublesome in maintenance. Only until very recently that with the introduction of the electrical humidifiers, the tedious and troublesome problem has been solved. (most bird houses today are no longer using the obsolete methods)


Frequent disturbances and visits to the inside of a successful birdhouse would scare away the birds. Therefore, the owners would normally refrain from entering the birdhouse unnecessarily. To avoid the uninvited visits of the intruders such as thieves and burglars, the house would be very strongly enhanced in the security system to the extent that most birdhouses are installed with strong bars and the high quality of alarm system.


After having achieved the above 4 factors, yet no swiftlet would know the existence of the new birdhouse unless the swiftlets are being notified and invited by the broadcast of the recorded swiftlet voice through the use of the sound system. Nevertheless, there is a tendency that a small percentage of inexperienced newcomers through the mislead of some unqualified and unscrupulous “consultants” irresponsibly blasting the sound to the maximum without due consideration for others thus, resulted in creating nuisances such as noise pollution disturbing the peace of the environment and arouse complaints. As for the professional and experienced owners, they would avoid the neighbours by directing the speakers skyward with tolerable volume to the extent that even the neighbours may not be aware of the sound. A professional and experienced would normally switch on the external voice by using timer control between 8.00 am to 8 pm only.
Therefore, only the professionally designed new birdhouses that are equipped with the above 5 basic factors or elements would stand a chance to succeed eventually if time is given and of course, with some luck. The duration of waiting from zero to final stage of success varies from 4 to 6 years. The waiting cost and the maintenance cost is rather high as during this long waiting period, there is absolutely no revenue in return at all to the other owner. If he fails, it is a total loss.





F. THE POSITIVE KEY ROLES PLAYED BY THE RELEVANT

AUTHORITIES AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN THE SUPPORT FOR THE MALAYSIA SWIFTLET NEST INDUSTRY IN ACIEVING THE OBJECTIVES SET FOR



1. THE ROLES SHOULD BE PLAYED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THE LOCAL COUNCILS (PBT) IN SUPPORTING THE BIRD’S NEST INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA




The PBTS should encourage and permit the owners to convert their abandoned properties or unused and unproductive upper floors into a birdhouse. We are doubtful if there is a need for a premise or business license. After all, the birdhouse is still an empty house under-locked with no business or trading activities inside. It is not open to public or outsider. It is just similar to the Kampung folks using backyards to rear some chicken for own consumption and if in excess, sell some to the neighbours in exchange for extra pocket money to buy feed. Do we also require the folks to have a poultry farm business license to keep the few chicken? Some of the birdhouses could be only half a floor size. Nevertheless, if the PBTs do insist, we recommend that the PBTs to issue only one simple license without stringent and restrictive terms and conditions at a token fee to show support for the industry.A very fine example is being set by the MAJLIS DAERAH KERIAN of PERAK(Parit Buntar) in 2006. MDK classified this industry under U.U.K.KECIL PERLESENAN TRED,PERNIAGAAN DAN PERINDUSTRIAN (MDK)(PINDAAN)1987 (COTTAGE INDUSTRY AND PETTY TRADE).

(When MDK processes the applications of the numerous application.MDK does not involve nor refer the applications to any other agency such as,the PERHILITAN,the HAIWAN,the BOMBA and the KESIHATAN at all for their comments. The MDK simplifies the process and reduces the bureaucratic and lengthy procedures and all red tapes in support of the appeal for EFFICIENCY of the Federal Govt. 80% of existing(sedia ada) BHs immediately responsed and applied. It takes the MDK less than 2 weeks to inform all the owners the approval from the day MDK received the applications from the existing(sedia ada)BHs.All applications were approved with the issuance of licenses within one month from the date MDK announced greenlight to encourage for application in 2006,April.The annual fee starts with only RM200.No requirement of submission of AS BUILT PLAN(as most BHs are old shop houses with CF and already existed and operated for many years prior to the introduction of the GUIDELINES and requirement of lessen premis).Only latest hasil pintu,proof of ownership,hand drawn location plan and particulars of applicant required. With the legalisation and legitimisation of the few thousands existing BHs in MDK,extra of millions of ringgits in revenue being received annually by the MDK to ease its previous financial difficulty faced.BHs owners in MDK also sleep well since then. Thus,win-win situation created.)






Thanks to the fomer D.O.Tuan Abdul Puhat together with his very efficient and honest MDK staff and all the very dedicated councillors served under him. Today,MAJLIS DAERAH KERIAN of PERAK is the best model and example in the whole of Malaysia.



If possible, to show further support by granting a five years exemption in the yearly house assessment(hasil pintu) as a form of incentive to the swiftlet house owner for the temporary loss in revenue income while waiting for the success to come.



As most existing bird’s nest houses already existed and operated for very long with some,more than a decade or two and even in generation,with the implied consent of the authorities previously before the introduction of the new guidelines and rulings and most of them are done with very minimal of partitioning and simple renovation of closing up,they should be given the benefit of doubts,be exempted from compliant to any new rulings and be given a simple and straight forward lesen premis to legalise them..












THE DEPARTMENT OF THE WILDIFE AND NATIONAL PARKS OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA (PERHILITAN)


To expedite the process in preparing the appropriate amendment papers to be tabled to the parliament for the approval to down list the Aerodramus species from Schedule Three of the Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 to legitimize and legalise the handling and the collection of edible swiftlet nests. (Announced and proposed by the Minister in 2001)


In 2003,the Aerodramus species was finally down listed from Schedule Three to Part ll of Schedule Four of the Protection of Wild Life Act 1972(ACT 76).



We are doubtful if there is legally need to have a license from the PERHILITAN to handle and collect cultivated birdnests from inside a man-made swiftlet house which is a privately owned property? We maintain that the PERHILITAN does not have any jurisdiction or authority on the handling of the cultivated bird’s nest from a man-made and privately owned property. Such type of license is only applicable to the birdnests harvesting in the caves where the birdnests are produced NATURALLY by the wild swiftlets in their natural habitat which is directly under the jurisdiction of the PERHILITAN provided by the Act. Whereas the birdnests inside a private house are produced through the CULTIVATION of the “domesticated” swiftlets created through the effort of the house owners.It is like the wild orchids in the primary jungle are prohibited by law to keep without prior permission whereas those commercially cultivated orchids grew in the nursery by the farmers are free to trade. It is also similar to the Ayam Hutan (Jungle Fowl) which you need a license or permit issued by the PERHILITAN provided by the Act to keep them.But you do not need a permit from PERHILITAN to rear meat chicken or ayam kampong in your backyard. Analogical to the Arowana or Dragon Fish which you require a permit to keep one caught from the wild and you do not need a permit to rear the F2 progeny from captive breeding. In fact the birdnests from the birdhouse are products of F2. Therefore, we reckon that PERHILITAN does not have any jurisdiction or power to impose any licence or restriction on any body handling or dealing with birdnest cultivated from a man-made farm except those of wild swiftlets from natural caves. Also that the PERHILITAN does not have any jurisdiction or say on any privately owned birdhouse.


Also that the proposal of collection of export fee for birdnest at RM0.10 per gram and the annual harvest fee of RM 200 by the PERHILITAN are strictly meant, provided it is vested under the law, for the birdnest from the natural caves which are under the PERHILITAN’s jurisdiction. The PERHILITAN, if justified under the law to collect any fee on the natural nest, they should for practicality, do it at the source that is at the cave while harvesting is being done. They should not do it in any other places esp the exist points such as airports, sea ports etc. Therefore, any form of request of payment by the PERHILITAN under whatever pretext relating to the cultivated birdnest from a man-made swiftlet house is illegitimate, illegal, unjustified, infringing of law and abuse of the procedures and the power vested and should be strictly prohibited. Also that the function and duty of the PERHILITAN is similar to Pejabat Haiwan which is of service orientated to provide “FREE” assistance and help to the public under the law. Both departments should not be charging any form of payment for any kind of services rendered to the industry and the farmers. In the event of shortage of fund to carry out their duty to render assistance to the farmers or rakyats, they should apply to their respective Ministry for budget. After all, the birdhouse owners are indeed doing the PERHILITAN a favour by helping the PERHILITAN to increase and conserve the population of the natural swiftlets in the wild which the PERHILITAN had tried but failed in the past decades. As a matter of fact, this man-made cultivation bird’s nest trade has unwittingly helped allevate the pressure on the natural cave nest harvesting under the charge of the PERHILITAN as the demand for the natural nests has dropped tremendously and shifted to the cultivated nests which are fresher, cleaner, of much higher quality and cheaper. No longer have the poachers found it worthy to play hide and seek with the Authorities. Therefore, the effort by the PERHILITAN to conserve and increase the population of the wild swiftlets is thus eased with a lot of manpower saved. The PERHILITAN should be thankful to the farmers. Also, another important point for the consideration of the authorities that the governments of the 2 world leading producing countries i.e. Indonesia and Thailand, are not issuing any license to inconvenience and restrict the birdnest house farming. They only have license for the Natural Cave Nest Harvest. Therefore, if the authorities concerned really sincere enough to encourage and support our local industry to compete with them, then they should not create any restriction to inconvenience, obstruct and handicap the industry.


d. To apply to the Federal Government for appropriate grants to conduct R&D into the swiftlet cultivation industry.












THE VETERINARY DEPARTMENT (HAIWAN)


To conduct a periodical laboratory research and test for any suspected swiftlet associated diseases and virus such as the Bird Flu, J.E., Nipah Virus etc. by collecting blood and bird dropping samples from different areas with the assistance and cooperation from the related trade associations and the various birdhouse owners.


To apply for grants to conduct R&D to advise the swiftlet house owners the correct methodology and the type of effective insecticides used to control pests and parasites in the swiftlet house.






THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT



To conduct periodical inspections, if deem necessary to the swiftlet houses to check for possible mosquito breeding grounds during the outbreak of the mosquito carried diseases..


b. To give advice on request to the swiftlet house owners the suitable type of disinfectants for anti-virus cum bacteria to be used inside the swiftlet house if necessary.



G. THE COMMON NUISANCES AND PROLEMS CAUSED BY THE BIRDNEST HOUSES AND THE RECOMMENDED SOLUTIONS FOR.



a. The unprofessionally and badly constructed birdhouses with ugly façade and the original windows completely cement sealed or bricked with many ventilation pot holes.





Generally, these are the birdhouses badly designed and constructed by people or contractors with little knowledge of the trade. This is the obsolete design and sub-standard methodology introduced from Indonesia. The professionally designed one would never touch on the façade and would maintain the original out look to be blended uniformly with the adjourning buildings and would never be conspicuous to be differentiated.

Solution


For the existing ones, the Local council should assess the situation and if deemed necessary and feasible give notice and advice to the owners with reasonable grace period to re-construct the façade to be restored to its original state.( this is particularly applicable to those areas declared under the HERITAGE TRUST) For the pending ones, the façade must be maintained as far as possible so not to be easily distinguished as a birdhouse.



b. Build as not per approved plans or without submission of plans for council’s approval for heavy renovation of bird house with alteration on the main structure or affect the load of the building such as extension from a 2 storey into 3 storeys.( EXTREAM CASES)





Generally most bird house renovations are simple and does not alter or change the main structure or affect the load of the building. Many are just like the normal simple office or residential partitioning renovations which does not require council’s approval. However, there are some extreme cases of extension from a 2 storey into 3 storey affecting the structure without prior approval.

Solution (on the more extreme cases)


In such extreme cases, if the local council insists then encourage and allow the owners to submit as built plan through the professional architects, engineers or draftsmen to take responsibility of the design and renovation to rectify the situation technically. This is a very common rectification practice in building industry and all trades.



c. Noise Pollution



This is the most common complaint of nuisance received by the authorities. There are many unscrupulous and inconsiderate birdhouse owners with little knowledge and know-how, wrongly letting the external speakers directed to the neighbors and indiscriminately blasting the recorded swiftlet voice with the intolerable volume for long hours. Naturally, this invites complaint of noise pollution disturbing the peace of the environment.

Solution


Upon receipt of such complaint, the council should investigate whether it is a vicious complaint out of jealousy or an exaggerated one or with hidden agenda. If it is deemed true to the complaint, the council should issue a notice under section81 (nuisance) of the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) to the errant owner to stop him from further operation of the sound system at least temporarily until and unless he has rectified the situation by relocating the speakers and to lower the volume to acceptable level. Actually, this sort of problem is easily solved by a professional and experienced. The experienced owner would always direct the speakers towards the sky with only reasonable and tolerable volume to the extend that sometimes nobody aware. Another suggestion is that besides directing the speakers skyward, a time frame is set to allow the external sound system to play e.g. from 7a.m. to 8 p.m. only.



d. Bird Droppings



Normally this is never a problem for a well managed birdhouse. The experienced owner would always conduct periodical cleaning and collection of bird droppings to maintain the most hygienic condition inside the birdhouse. The owner knows that filthy and unhealthy environment would be harmful also to the birds and eventually reduce the numbers. Nevertheless, there are cases of some inexperienced owners without these basic knowledge tend to overlook and thus allowed the accumulation of bird droppings to the extend of emitting foul smell and poses potential health hazard to the neighbours.

Solution


In such cases, the council should tackle and deal with the situation by using the existing Law and Acts to compel the errant owners to rectify the situation.



e. Complaint Of Mosquito Breeding From The Pond And Water Containers

Found Inside The Birdhouse


The Ponds and water containers, if found inside the birdhouse are used to lower the

temperature and to increase the humidity inside the house to simulate a cave-like environment to allow the swiftlets to live in comfort. The Ponds and water containers are not meant to breed mosquito as food source for the swiftlets as claimed by a certain group of ignorant people. In fact, no mosquito could come into a succesfull birdhouse. The mosquito would soon become the supper for the swiftlests the moment they come near. In total darkness, no larva could survive without the sunlight.

Solution


In the exposed ponds, normally the owners would rear some small fishes such as the guppies and sword-tails to rid of any larva.















H. ADDITIONAL POINTS AND OPINIONS FOR THE

CONSIDERATION




1. Refer to 6.2(i) + (ii). It is not viable and practical to set “Distance Limit” or “Prohibited Zone” for the operation of birdhouses. 70% of the existing 15,000 over birdhouses are mainly located in most major towns and also in the shop-houses in the housing estates.







2. Risk Management Plan And Record Keeping.



This is not necessary, irrelevant and not practical to apply the above to the swiftlet house industry.




(i) Most birdhouses are privately owned, operated and managed by individual owner who does not engage worker or involve any outsider. The birdhouse or “bird room” to some, is under locked all the time.



(ii) Most birdhouses are deemed small and side investment to the owners who only make use of a portion, a floor, or two floors of the unused and unproductive upper level of the building to be converted into the so called birdhouse. Sometimes, the so called birdhouse could be the size of a sleeping room.



(iii) It is also quite similar to the kampong folks rearing chicken at the backyard for their own consumption. This is not like the multi-million modern commercial poultry farm that produces tens to hundred thousands of chicken monthly, involved a lot of workers whereby many regulations need to be adhered to.

(iv) Risk Management Plan and the Record Keeping is actually meant for the large scale operation such as the bird-nests harvesting in the caves, in particularly, found in East Malaysia, which produce tens of tons per harvest season involving a lot of manpower, departments and authorities.








3. Government Incentives

(i) The government authorities or agencies may need to consider providing certain incentives to encourage the development and flourish of the industry in order to achieve the objectives.

(ii) The edible bird-nest could become a new primary product next to the rubber and palm oil to be one essential foreign revenue generated commodity for the country in very near future.

(iii) If certain incentives had been provided to invite the foreign investors to invest in Malaysia in other industries and eventually allowing them to bring out the profit with them from the country, why not the authorities to consider similar incentives for the locals in this new industry which is so much viable and feasible? On top of this, the added advantage is that, the profit and foreign revenue generated would quite definitely stay put inside the country.

4. Refer to 7.3 (i), this section of the Perhilitan Act does not apply to the using of sound system in the bird-nest industry. It is wrongly interpreted, as the “intention” of using the “baits” here is not to catch, confine, cage, kill or eat the swiftlet. In fact, nobody harms the swiftlet. The birds are free to come and go at liberty.





.

5. ALLEGED POTENTIAL DISEASES ASSOCIATED WITH THE SWIFTLETS? (by DL)

(i) As the bird-nest house farminbg is rather new to the locals and also due to the incidents happened a few years ago regarding the deadly Nipah Virus caused by the bats in our country and the Bird Flu caused by the poultry in Hong Kong and China that, the general public tends to be rather worried of any would be diseases associated with the swiftlets that might affect them.

(ii) So far, there isn’t any known case of swiftlet inflicting disease on human even in Indonesia and Thailand, the two main bird-nest producing countries with very much longer in history than us. This is generally and naturally a misconception or self-fear of the public towards something new due to ignorance and lacking in in-depth understanding. However, we do not want to take it for granted either. Nonetheless,I would like to highlight some opinions gathered after having several discussions with a few veterinarians and virus researchers. They think that swiftlets should have least chance of being carriers of human inflicting virus and diseases as compared to other commonly found avians and fowls,such as pigeons,mynahs,sparrows,chickens and ducks etc close to the human habitats based on the following facts and reasons:-1) Swiftlets are live insectivorous. Adult swiftlets only forage in the air for live high flying minute insects found in jungles, forests and rural areas.2) Once they fly out of the caves or the man-made habitats, they never perch nor cling onto any surface or objects. They could sleep and rest while gliding high in the air.3) They rarely mix or come into physical contacts with other species of birds or animals. Therefore the chance of swiftlets being a carrier for known human inflicting diseases is very slim and rare. However, still we do strongly recommend that the Health department and the Haiwan department should on their very own to do the necessary research into it to confirm otherwise.

(iii) However, we would also like to highlight a very important issue to both the departments that they should look very seriously into tackling the pigeon carried disease such as the Fungus like CRYPTOCOCOCIS(脑膜炎) caused by CRYPTOCOCCUS NEOFORMANS which is so rampant to an alarming level in our country. This is a human inflicting disease associated with mainly the pigeon droppings with symptoms always wrongly diagnosed as common flu and which has a devastating effect of causing brain damage to the patient especially to the children. Almost all the free flying pigeons esp found in the temples of all major townships are the carriers of this disease. This disease may be mistaken to be spread by the swiftlets.

(iv) Therefore, the 3 authorities concerned, namely, the Haiwan, the Kesihatan and the Majlis should give priority to take immediate steps to rid of these pigeons from all major town centers in our country for the sake of the rakyat’s health.




(v) The previous favorite tourist spots in the world that used to have thousands of these free flying pigeons as attractions such as the European countries are now trying hard to rid of these pigeons due to being the carriers of this disease.




6. PROPOSED ONE STOP AGENCY FOR THE APPROVAL OF BIRD HOUSES OPERATION.



(a) One Stop Agency is only applicable to the Tiger Prawn Farming industry in Sarawak where these projects are owned by corporative companies with intensive capital out-lay on government subsidized state lands. These companies have the means to engage professional qualified executives to do up the necessary compliant requirements and satisfy the conditions prior to obtaining approval from the One Stop Agency. Upon approval, these companies benefit a lot from government subsidies such as long term lease of vast piece of state land which could run into hundreds to thousands acres at very minimal and low premium. The process of obtaining the approval is normally tedious and time constrained. The number of such projects is small and they are exclusive to the “Big Boys”who have good political connection and influence.



(b) Whereas for the bird-nest house industry, most of the birdhouses are small operations owned by private individuals with small capital and with no subsidy from the government. To many of them, it is just like rearing chicken at the unused backyards hoping for some extra pocket money if successful. Moreover, the number of birdhouses could run into tens of thousand all over the country in every corner just like the roadside hawker or coffee stalls.





(c) It would be easier and practical for the PBTs to regulate and govern them using U.U.K KECIL PERLESENAN TRED,PERNIAAGAN DAN PERINDUSTRIAN (PINDAAN) 1987.(COTTAGE INDUSTRY AND PETTY TRADE) This is a very pleasant and effective procedure welcomed by the existing birdhouse operators adopted by MAJLIS DAERAH KERIAN,PERAK since 2006 which simplified the process of legalizing the existing birdhouses and resolved a lot of hassles. The procedure of application of a birdhouse premise license of an existing birdhouse is very simple and straight forward. It requires the applicant to fill in a standard Borang Komposit Lesen Perniagaan with submission of 1) salinan cukai taksiran terakhir yang telah dijelaskan, 2)1 salinan kad penenalan,3)1 salinan pelan lokasi perniagaan(lukisan tangan sendirian), 4) 3 keping gambar berwana berukuran passport pemohon. Within 2 weeks,an official license is approved and issued with a token fee similar to an office license. Totally no involvement or requirement in the participation of approval of the Pejabat Perhilitan ,Pejabat Haiwan ,Pejabat Bomba etc at all.The registration and issuing of lesen premis exercise on all the existing birdhouses in MDK was completed in only 2 months. There wasn’t any under counter money transacted nor any harassment or victimization given by any MDK staff. Almost all the rakyats in the district were very please with the MDK. The D.O.at the time was Tuan Abdul Puhat Bin Mat Nayan. He should be highly commented for his wisdom, wise decision, efficiency, great leadership and most importantly, he has the rakyats in his heart.


(d) Setting up One Stop Agency to compel the birdhouse owners to comply with pre-requisite requirement before permission is granted to them is not viable, practical and realistic. It is going to be very time and cost constrained. In fact, it is not only helping the industry but an obstacle to hinder its present smooth development and growth of the industry. One Stop Agency only benefits the “Big Boys” such as the successful pioneers and early birds with profit made earlier to gain, unwittingly, monopoly and special rights. It is deterring and inconveniencing the potential new comers to share in the free market policy of this new industry and is deviating from the objectives set for.




I. CONCLUSION

With painstaking efforts many interested parties such as building owners, investors, settlers, researchers, businessmen including the author himself have traveled many parts of Malaysia including other neighboring countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam to study and seek constructive advice from experts either from native settlers or professionals on the possibilities of establishing and implementing a bird nest industry in Malaysia.

The author completed his preliminary stage of research in bird nest industry study with exciting figures and findings where country with typical suitable climate and environment like Malaysia should explore further on the opportunity to enchant and develop this industry.

The author finds that the bird nest industry has long been developed primitively from deep caves in the native jungle of massive natural rainforest in Southeast Asia and his views offer significant new ideas and strategies, promote stability and balance of swiftlet population growth gradually leading to potential economic boost of this lucratively hidden industry.

The never-ending effort and advice contributed by many should be recognized by Malaysia Government to establish a committee or a separate department to specially handle the potential and its lucrative business venture for the benefit of the country as well as the environment terms of its ecological balance with the ever-reducing protected species.

In essence, the proposal for revival of this under-explored industry is beneficial both in the upstream all the way down to the downstream where livelihood of less fortunate settlers or locals can be improved with newly developed non-chaotic environmentally friendly man-made design. This design is simple and beginning to gain acceptance among many-interested entrepreneurs and investors.

The Government should view seriously on the professional advice from experience and knowledgeable birdhouse owners and experts on the possible economy impact of this potential industry to generate additional income or revenue for the country. In one way or another, it helps to improve the consumers, exporters, consultants and others by creating more jobs opportunities and generate sale revenue from exports and local consumption. It is strongly recommended that the Government of Malaysia place heavy emphasis on the development of this industry both for the people and economy of Malaysia.

The author proposes to the Government of Malaysia to consider setting up board of panels or a committee to further study the need to and develop this industry for the benefit of the people and country at the receiving end. The development and implementation of this industry is not harmful generally and in actual facts, it helps to improve and balance the disturbed ecology and environment where heritage of this bird-nest culture can be enchanted and maintained.

The development of this industry will not only help domestically but will also have interalia multiplying effect of other non-related industry like housing development where abandoned projects or unoccupied properties can be minimally modified to diversify its original intention of human occupancy. Besides, the study also recognizes the importance of government awareness program by ways of subsidies, sponsorships, providing further guidelines, grant for more studies and research of this topic where it will eventually assist the Malaysia economy at large.

In conclusion, the author strongly proposes that additional studies of this kind be approved for the betterment of this richly cultured industry. NOT FORGETTING THAT THIS IS THE ONLY INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA THAT WILL NOT BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THE STRONG ECONOMY GROWTH OF CHINA.THE STRONGER THE ECONOMY OF CHINA, THE GREATER THE DEMAND OF BIRDNEST FROM US. AND THUS THE MORE RENMINBI WILL FLOW TO MALAYSIA.

Not withstanding all the efforts and research of the above, the author wishes to end its finding with the following conclusion:



“Swiftlets, once, have been long high-flying in the air, in and out every cave it can find, with its tails and wings widely span, eager to breed and produce but what about our under-explored industry – is it flourishing as well as it should be or is it going to be like what it used to be?”.














J. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



The author gladly acknowledges with special thanks to the following gentlemen, who are not only professionals in their respective fields or trades but also experts with accumulated experience and knowledge in this bird-nest industry, for their contribution to the study and research of this comprehensive and factual report by giving their invaluable and relevant views, knowledge, ideas, visions, opinions, experiences, comments, information, tips, advices, analysis, etc. to the author.



1. DR. LIM CHAN KOON, B.SC.(U.M.),PH.D.(KENT),ZOOLOGIST COMMUNITY ADVISER, DANCED/SWIMPI NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE DIVISION WILDLIFE DIVISION SARAWAK FOREST DEPARTMENT. CO-AUTHOR for SWIFTLETS OF BORNEP, BUILDERS OF EDIBLE NESTS.

2. DR.AFIFI BIN SHEIKH ABU BAKAR, D.V.M.(LAHORE), M.S.P.H(TULANE UNI.) VET.SURGEON & SENIOR LECTURER in U.S.M., KELANTAN.

3. MR. LUA KOK HIYONG LLB(HONS)MALAYA ADVOCATES & SOLICITORS of LUA & MANSOR, Petaling Jaya & Kota Baru.

4. MR. JOEL LIM Y.H. MAIPM, MAPESMA, ARICS, AAIQS, M.SC. (PROJ.MGMT.)MBA, M.INT.MGMT., BappSc(Bldg/Qs) SENIOR PROJECT ENGINEER attached with TAIWAN HIGH SPEED RAIL PROJECT, (BULLET TRAIN) TAIWAN, R.O.C.

5. MR. YAP LEAN HOE APAM.RIBA.DIP.TRP(UTM)Bsc(HONS)HBP(USM) DIP.ARCH(DIST)HULL.UK. L.H. YAP CHARTERED ARCHITECTS. Sungai Petani, Kedah.

6. ALL THE EXPERIENCED LOCAL as well as foreign birdhouse owners and birdhouse experts with whom the author had communicated or interviewed with.


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Swiftlet Farming Investment Strategy
- Ensure the objective is realistic and worth the
potential loss. Pick battles you can win.

- Gather all the information available, even though some
of it might be wrong or even be misinformation.

- Make a plan with the best information on hand and
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factors of a successful farm.Get advices from successful
farmers.

- Recognize that there is risk in everything. Things can
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SELANGOR BN ASSOCIATION NEW YEAR DINNER :


Thought Of The Year
H.L. Mencken believed it is the nature of the human species to reject what is true but unpleasant and to embrace what is obviously false but comforting.

Thursday, February 5, 2009
I think celebrations are premature : Ku Li

http://razaleigh.com/2009/02/05/the-longer-term/


" The ethical and political issues coincide because ethical failures are at the core of our political problem. Umno is in critical condition. Our biggest challenge, both as a party and as the governing party, is to tackle corruption at every level. We are under close public scrutiny in addressing this problem. Unless we implement radical reforms and are seen to be doing so, we are finished politically come next election. " Written by Ku Li



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