THE Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) hace issued a warning urging the public to exercise caution against encountering snakes when engaging in Chinese New Year spring cleaning activities.
Fazlisyah Muslim, the APM training director, emphasised that the El Niño phenomenon, coinciding with the festive season, could lead to drought conditions, prompting reptiles to seek refuge in cooler areas such as bathrooms and toilets.
He strongly advised individuals not to attempt handling any snakes they encounter but instead to promptly seek assistance from the authorities.
“It’s wise for the public to exercise caution while preparing their homes for the festive season, especially in areas like bathrooms and kitchens where snakes may seek shelter,“ Fazlisyah stated during a press conference at the APM Kota Star headquarters.
He emphasised the importance of inspecting such areas first, perhaps with the aid of a stick, to ensure there are no dangerous creatures present.
Additionally, he advised against cleaning alone, highlighting the significance of having a companion for quick response in case of emergencies.
Fazlisyah revealed that the APM had relocated a total of 104,859 snakes from residential areas last year, with Selangor reporting the highest number of cases at 16,160, followed by Johor, Perak, Kelantan, and Kedah.
He noted that for January this year, there have already been 10,296 recorded cases nationwide, predominantly involving pythons and cobras.
Highlighting urban settings as more prone to snake encounters, he cited Alor Star as having the highest number of cases in Kedah at 1,478.
Assuring the public of readiness during the festive season and dry spell, Fazlisyah affirmed the APM’s collaboration with relevant agencies to provide assistance during emergencies.
He mentioned deploying officers for monitoring operations in areas prone to emergencies and emphasised the importance of taking precautionary measures during the dry season, including avoiding outdoor activities during the day and staying hydrated.
According to the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) website, the current dry spell is expected to persist in the coming days, with northern states experiencing temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius and the possibility of thunderstorms and heavy rain in certain areas.