KUALA LUMPUR: Retired veterinarians will soon be re-recruited on a contract basis to overcome the critical shortage in the country, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
The Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister said that it was a short-term measure adding that the shortage thwarted efforts to revitalise the agriculture sector including implementation of programmes under the Veterinary Services Department.
“For instance, we want to implement the foot and mouth disease (FMD) free programme but we are lacking veterinarians. We need more experienced veterinarians,” he told reporters yesterday after the opening of the 19th Veterinary Association of Malaysia Congress 2007 here.
He said that Sabah and Sarawak had already achieved the FMD-free status and the ministry would initiate the FMD-free programme for Peninsular Malaysia in January next year.
“We strive to complete the first phase by 2009 and the second phase by 2011. To do so, we require many qualified people not just veterinarians but also technical support services staff. We need to mobilise veterinarians nationwide,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that veterinarians who had retired for 10 years could attend a refresher course to return to the industry.
“This is a fast-track measure to fill up the shortfall. For our long-term measure, we need to work with the higher learning institutions to churn out more graduates to fill up the vacancies,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the department needed 18 veterinarians to fill up vacancies every year to achieve its target of one veterinarian for each district.