Sabah and Sarawak are two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Brunei and Indonesia are also located on Borneo, and since these states have different import requirements from the rest of Malaysia, pet travel here can be a confusing issue to sort out.
PetRelocation recently moved some clients here, so we learned all about the do's and don'ts of importing pets to Sabah and Sarawak. Here is what we found.
First of all, be aware that Malaysia is not particularly pet-friendly, and local authorities may have regulations regarding the number of dogs that can be kept within residences.
The import requirements for Sarawak and Sabah can be broken into two categories:
(United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Brunei and Singapore)
When importing pets from one of these countries, an import permit and a health certificate issued within seven days of departure will be necessary. The certificate must be issued by an approved veterinary authority and state that:
1. No case of rabies has been reported to have occurred in the country during the previous six months.
2. The pet has been in the country for at least six months.
3. The pet has been examined and found to be healthy and free from any clinical sign of infectious or contagious disease at the time of examination and certification prior to export.
(All other countries not listed above)
When importing pets from a country not listed above, an import permit and a health certificate issued within seven days of departure will be necessary. The certificate must be issued by an approved veterinary authority and state that:
1. The pet has been examined and found to be healthy and free from any clinical sign of rabies and infectious or contagious diseases at the time of examination and certification prior to export.
2. The pet has been vaccinated against rabies using an approved anti-rabies vaccine prior to export at least six months prior to export and less than one year.
3. The vaccination history, treatments given and health status must all be certified.
4. A rabies serology report showing rabies antibodies of more than 0.5 iu/ml.
Upon arrival from a Category 2 country, the pet will be placed in quarantine for a minimum of 30 days or a maximum of 180 days. The exact quarantine period is 180 days minus the number of days from the date of the last vaccination. (This is similar to Australia's current quarantine policy). As long as the rabies vaccine is more than six months and less than one year old, the quarantine period is 30 days.
According to the information we found, the available quarantine facilities are located about ten minutes away from Piasau Camp and Lutong. Twice-daily visits can be arranged (weekend visits may be difficult to manage), and the cost is low -- a few Malaysian dollars a day.
Estimated quarantine fees:
Dogs: Large - RM 5.00, Small - RM 3.00
Cats: All Sizes- RM 3.00
Quarantine Certificate: RM 2.00
Pitt Bulls (including American Pitt Bull Terriers), American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bull dogs and mixes, Akitas, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Tosas, Dogo Argentines, Fila Brasileiros, Boerboels, Perro de Presa Canarios and mixes.
If a pet requires quarantine they must fly into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Penang or Padang Besar where the quarantine facilities are located. It's recommended that pets fly with KLM (via Amsterdam) or Lufthansa (via Frankfurt) into Kuala Lumpur. Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong) or Malaysia out of LAX with a stop in Taipei are two other possibilities.
In preparation for pet travel to Sabah and Sarawak, it's also necessary to secure a microchip, approved travel crate, Rabies Titer Test and other necessary vaccines depending on the breed.
This information provides a good start, but there are more details involved with travel to Sabah and Sarawak. Please contact your pet relocation specialist with any further questions or concerns, and feel free to leave your Malaysia travel tips in the comments below.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2011 and has been updated with new information.