The Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) is facing difficulties to manage the issue of stray buffaloes damaging farms and causing road accidents as the buffaloes’ owners cannot be easily identified.
Brunei-Muara Police District Criminal Investigation Officer DSP Pengiran Khairul Hakimin bin Pengiran Haji Kamaluddin said numerous reports have been received by the RBPF on the issue.
During a briefing on offences against the Buffaloes Act and Miscellaneous Offences Act at the Rimba Horticulture Centre yesterday, two accidents involving vehicle and buffaloes were recorded in 2014 and 2016, while two road accidents involving vehicle avoiding buffaloes were reported in 2014.
The RBPF also received two cases of stray buffaloes damaging paddy field in 2019 and 2021 in Kampong Batong.
DSP Pengiran Khairul Hakimin highlighted that buffaloes found damaging paddy or crops can be impounded by farm owners as stated under Section 4, Chapter 59 of the Buffaloes Act.
He said that when lodging police report, a comprehensive information of buffaloes and cattle owners from the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) is required, while buffaloes and cattle identification system should not be easily removed.
“There is a need for close and direct cooperation between breeders and paddy owners as well as the RBPF or the DAA for any complaints lodged,” he said.
Deputy Senior Counsel and Head of Legal and Compliance Division under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) Haji Afif Daraina bin Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin shared that under Section 3 (1), Chapter 59 of the Buffaloes Act, it is the responsibility of cattle owners to destroy their breed that are vicious.
Haji Afif Daraina also stressed the need to conduct a census to estimate the number of buffaloes in each district, as per Section 10, Chapter 59 of the Buffaloes Act.
“Owners whose stray buffaloes that wreak havoc must pay for the damages incurred,” the deputy senior counsel said, adding that owners can be charged before the Magistrate’s Court for permitting their buffaloes to stray.
Meanwhile, in the event when strays cause damage to public roads, respective village heads or mukim penghulus are allowed to instruct the owner of the stray buffaloes to repair the damaged road, as per Section 6, Chapter 59 of the Buffaloes Act.
Refusal to obey can lead to owners being charged before the Magistrate’s Court, and if found guilty, liable to BND50 fine.
The deputy senior counsel said, “In the month of Syaaban every year, the Director of Agriculture shall take a census on the number of buffaloes in each district.
“The village head needs to hand over the number of buffaloes in their village including information on the owners of each buffalo.”
It is an offence to allow specific animals including buffalo to stray and cause damage to public and private properties. Owners of animals can be charged in the Magistrate’s Court and, if guilty, face BND1,000 fine for each animal and a claim for total compensation may be ordered by the magistrate.
A total of 150 participants comprising cattle breeders, farmers as well as village heads and officers from the DAA were invited to the talk.
Organised by the DAA in collaboration with the Legal and Compliance Division of the MPRT and the RBPF, the talk aimed to disseminate information on the Acts that control the issues of stray cattle in the Sultanate.