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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Auditor-General's Report: RM3.19 million for only nine studs

OVER RM3 million was spent, but the Veterinary Services Department only got nine fit animals for its cattle stud farm project or the "Pengeluaran Bibit dan Baka Ternakan Lembu".

In 2006, the department placed an order amounting to RM6.2 million with Kembar Teguh for the supply of 2,500 cattle from China between July 2006 and July last year.

But until February last year, the supplier had only sent the department 1,812 cattle although the department had already paid it a lump sum of RM3.19 million.

The auditor-general found that only nine out of the 1,812 cattle delivered fulfilled the department's specifications.

The specifications were that the animals should not be more than 24 months old, should not weigh less than 250kg, should have no deformities and the colour of its hide should either be yellowish brown or black brown.

Seventy of the cattle had brucellosis and had to be put down. Another 451 could not pass any of the criteria set and had to be returned to the supplier.

Athough the remaining 1,282 cattle could only pass two of the four criteria the department had set, the animals were accepted.

The auditor-general questioned the wisdom of the department's decision to accept the 1,282 animals and said it should only have paid for the nine animals that met its specifications.

The audit also found that the supplier failed to quarantine the cattle for a minimum of 30 days -- during which it would feed and care for them at its own farm -- when they were brought into the country.

Instead, they were sent to the Animal Farming Centre in Jelai/Gemas and the centre was forced to bear the cost of feeding and caring for the cattle.

The department, however, said that the cattle were sent to Jelai/Gemas because the centre was going to be gazetted as a temporary quarantine shelter.

"The department has the right to gazette any location it deemed fit according to the 1953 Animals Act."

It also denied that it had to bear the costs of feeding and caring for the cattle during quarantine.

Of the remaining cattle, the department said it had no intention of getting them from Kembar Teguh because of "various difficulties" faced by both supplier and the department when dealing with the authorities in China.

Until December last year, the department operated six stud farms, with 6,300 animals. Between 2005 and last year, RM18.85 million was spent on the farms, which were targeted to produce 17,351 cattle.

Source: NST

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