Malaysia: Sabah tables bill for heavier penalties to enable wildlife protection

AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 10 Aug 16;

KOTA KINABALU: A bill to amend the Sabah’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 was presented at the state assembly sitting here, today.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun tabled the motion, which seeks to set higher minimum and maximum penalties and include two new wildlife species as ‘fully protected’ under the enactment.

“The Enactment has been enforced for almost 20 years but sadly, the penalties for offences allocated under the Enactment have not been revised.

“It is time we amend the penalties to ensure that its enforcement puts an end to hunters not respecting and fearing the law.”

Masidi said the bill would involve the amendment of 48 Articles, where penalties will be increased by three to five times the current punishments.

Among the proposed amendments is to set a minimum RM50,000 and maximum RM100,000 fine, or minimum six-month imprisonment and maximum five-year imprisonment, or both, under Section 16 of the Enactment for hunting wildlife and harvesting plants within wildlife sanctuary areas.

The current penalty under the Section 16 is RM50,000 fine or a five-year imprisonment, or both.

Mandatory fines and jail are also proposed under the Section 25 for hunting protected animals; Section 41 for possessing protected animals and animal parts; Section 53 for smuggling protected animals; Section 62 for possessing protected plants; Section 63 for smuggling protected plants; and Section 87 for collecting or possessing turtle eggs within the traditional collecting areas.

Meanwhile, under Section 41, the penalty for the offence of possessing a fully protected animal and animal parts without permission is a minimum of RM50,000 and maximum RM250,000 fine and jail term of not less than a year, and not exceeding five years.

The proposed Article 44 involves an amendment to the Section 101, which gives jurisdiction to the State Wildlife Director to issue compounds of not more than 50 per cent of the maximum fine penalty for anyone found to have carried out offences under the Enactment.

At the same time, Masidi also announced that Article 47 would include the Olive Ridley Turtle as a new fully-protected species while under Article 48, the White-Browed Shama bird is to be listed as protected animal. The motion was supported by all representatives.

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