SEREMBAN - The ban on pig farming in Bukit Pelanduk following the deaths of 108 people due to the Nipah virus outbreak in 1998 is still in force.
Anyone who defies it will be severely dealt with, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
He said he had received reports that some people had restarted the business on the quiet after being instigated by community leaders.
"The Veterinary Services Department has been told to verify this and to take immediate action against those involved," he said.
Bukit Pelanduk, which was once the largest pig farming area in Asia, was deemed not suitable because it had no proper waste treatment facilities, Mohamad said.
He was commenting on fears of another viral outbreak after a Year Six pupil in Penang contracted Japanese Encephalitis (JE) while on a camping trip in April.
According to media reports, there were several pig farms with a total of about 10,000 animals within a 1.5km radius of where the boy attended the camp.
JE and Nipah are similar viral strains that can develop in pigs and are spread by Culex mosquitoes when the insects bite the infected animals and then feed on humans.
Mohamad said the state government had valid reasons to ban pig farming in Bukit Pelanduk and everyone should respect its decision.
"So many people died 15 years ago because pig farming was carried out haphazardly, without any concern for the environment and hygiene. My administration is not going to allow a recurrence," he said.
Mohamad said the state government also disallowed the setting up of a 480ha pig farming area (PFA) in nearby Tanah Merah.
The Federal Government had decided to set up the PFA following the Nipah outbreak to ensure farmers practised high hygiene standards and to ensure proper waste disposal.
"I notified the federal authorities on this and they were agreeable," Mohamad said, adding that those who bought plots at the PFA were free to convert them to industrial or mixed development use.
He said the area was also not suitable for pig farming because it was near KLIA and KLIA2.
"In Negri Sembilan, we only allow pig farming in Air Kuning and the farmer is only allowed to rear less than 1,000 animals at a time," he said, adding that the state government allowed this because the farmer had invested in modern farming technology.