How Sabah fares in animal welfare
Published on: Monday, January 11, 2021
By: Shirley Khong
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I FIRST met Farida Malai some years ago, when together with some friends, we brought a semi-paralysed dog for acupuncture. I could see her love for animals; dogs, cats, monkeys, other wildlife and she is always very humble and low-key. 

Over the years she has devoted more and more of her time to animals, from feeding to rescues and neuters, all from her own pocket or thru the kind donations of friends. 

She is very dedicated to what she does and we have nothing but love and admiration for her.

Fair interviewed Farida to get an insight on what she does daily and how she got so involved with animals. (Final of a three-part series)

Question: On a scale of 1-10, how is the Sabah government’s response to animal welfare and what can we do to further improve it?

Farida: I wish it were 9 or 10. I would dearly love for the government to take the lead on animal care and animal welfare issues. Nevertheless, I must give credit to the Sabah State Government for having enacted the Animal Welfare Enactment 2015. 

It is comprehensive and up to date laws on animal welfare. Unfortunately, the enforcement aspect is still lacking because of limited resources. 

However, I am glad to say that when grievances are channelled either directly or via SPCA KK to the State government, officials from the relevant agencies have responded and helped with whatever resources available. 

I believe if we are to continue educating and raising awareness on responsible pet ownership to the general public, our society’s attitude on animal welfare will continue to improve. Today’s society’s attitude has already improved although we are still far behind other countries, but at least we are improving! I have faith that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

Question: Why do you think many people are not neutering their pets?

Farida: Sadly, the main reason is the lack of affordability and accessibility to neutering facilities. The average family in Sabah cannot afford operation costs especially when they have more than one pet. That is why SPCA KK and other animal welfare groups are always raising funds to help subsidise these operations. 

The lack of awareness on the benefits of neutering is also another reason. Owners of pets very often do not know that neutered pets are healthier and more stable in their behaviour. 

How can we make things better for animals here, in Sabah, at least?

Farida: My wish list is for our government to:
  1. Strictly enforce the existing law for limited owners to obtain a breeding licence. The Dept of Veterinary Services (DVS) must check that that breeders satisfy and comply with the guidelines and not allow any backyard breeders! This will be the single most important factor to reduce the population of homeless cats and dogs.
  2. Enforce compulsory licensing and introduce microchipping of pets to stop irresponsible owners from abandoning them
  3. Form an Animal Welfare Enforcement Unit with specific job scopes to enforce all aspects of Animal Welfare Enactment of 2015.
  4. Train their staff to be well versed in ethical, legal and prosecution aspects of animal welfare so that they can respond promptly and appropriately.  
  5. To provide more funding to government clinics and animal welfare groups to help amongst other things, with neutering services at an affordable price
  6. To consider developing smart partnerships with our private vets or even outsourcing neutering services to local or international animal welfare bodies.

Question: What other wish do you have for the animals in Sabah?

Farida: I really wish that people in Malaysia can be more compassionate and kinder to the homeless animals especially the starving, the weak and the sick ones.

If they can’t help, at the very least, they should not harm to them. 

At the same time, rescued animals come in all shapes and sizes. They may be old and impaired, have medical problems, etc. It would be wonderful if these animals could be adopted so they can experience some love and quality life before they pass on. 

People usually want to adopt cute looking animals and these other ones are usually overlooked. 

 If humans would be so kind as to give them a chance they can bloom and be beautiful and enjoy a life of love which all animals need.

Finally, some say there is karma attending to those who are cruel to animals.

I have heard about karma, or “ketulahan”. I don’t really know if it is true but I do know that there are people of many cultures who believe that with every action, there is always a reaction, an eventual and corresponding effect on the doer. 

Certainly, having seen so much unnecessary cruelty done to animals, I like to believe that there are consequences to all cruel acts

We wish Farida all the love and luck for her noble mission. If u wish to donate to Farida to help her with food, medications and vet bills for the animals please donate to: 



A/C 510198677767

Or contact SPCA Hotline 

at 0198809660


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