“A woman from the United States (US) claimed to have contacted the Malaysian Department of Agriculture and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) to find out the process and laws related to seeds.
However, the woman admitted that it was difficult to understand because it was regulated by three agencies, including the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (MAQIS).
However, the woman still sells the seeds abroad and even supplies them to a friend in Costa Rica, she operates a website to sell unique fruit seeds around the world.
Only using courier service, ordered seeds are delivered without problems.”
*The quote is from Berita Harian dated 30 September 2019, by Fahmy A Rosli. The Original Title is “Elak Khazanah Endemik Kita Dicuri”.
MAQIS is an acronym for Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services whose purpose is to control the entry and exit of the country from the invasion of small creatures, germs, organisms, which are invisible to the naked eye, or which may threaten the agro-industry in Malaysia. For simplicity, it functions like Immigration services but for plants, food or animals, whether living, dead or its by-products.
Therefore, MAQIS works with five other government agencies, namely DVS, DOA, FAMA, LKIM & DOF who have expertise in their respective fields but interconnected.
Endemic species means species that live in groups in limited habitats in a particular location. Examples are like Rafflesia, Proboscis monkey, Penyu Belimbing, Pygmy elephants, Malayan tigers, Durian Turtles etc
Our Malaysia forest store many endemic species like this, unfortunately, due to weak enforcement and low awareness has caused some of these species to escape from this country just like that. This causes our losses in terms of inheritance for future generations, including losses in value if the species is patented whether for commercial purposes or not, by a foreign country.
Therefore, the role of MAQIS becomes very important, including the need to have high expertise and efficiency to track every package, luggage or small packets including using a high tech scanner or tracking dog service as practised in America. In addition, the cooperation with other agencies such as the postal and courier operators is also important to be jointly responsible for protecting the country’s treasures, not just for food security and food supply.