Malaysia: Come up with a plan on ivory trafficking, CITES says

SIM LEOI LEOI The Star 13 Sep 16;

PETALING JAYA: The Convention on Inter­national Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has requested that Malaysia “enhance efforts” to tackle ivory trafficking.

The request was put to Malaysia during the 66th meeting by the standing committee under CITES in January.

This came after a study by wildlife trade watchdog Traffic found that Malaysia had be­­come the world’s leading transit country for African ivory bound for the Asian market.

CITES flagged Malaysia as one of the eight countries of “primary concern”. As one of these countries, Malaysia had been requested to come out with its own NIAPs (national ivory action plans) which will help implement CITES provisions in regards to the trade.

In the Geneva meeting, Malaysia was also asked by the committee to report on the mea­­sures taken to implement its NIAPs by June 30. It also noted that Malaysia – as well as Uganda and Tanzania – had yet to “substantially achieve” their NIAPs.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar was reported as saying that Malaysia had drafted and submitted its NIAPs as required by CITES and that this was being implemented.

He also said that he would call for a meeting soon to address the issue in Malaysia as well as join forces with other countries to end wildlife poaching and smuggling.

Malaysia’s efforts on NIAPs are expected to come under scrutiny at a CITES Conference of Parties meeting in South Africa from Sept 24 to Oct 5.

Perhilitan enforcement director Hasnan Yu­­sop said it was working closely with both In­­terpol and Asean Wildlife Enforcement Agency (Asean-WEN) to clamp down on all transnational illegal wildlife trade and not just ivory.

“Wildlife crime is a big business and run by international networks. Wildlife and parts are traded much like illegal drugs and arms. Perhilitan is working closely with Interpol and Asean-WEN to curb transational illegal wildlife,” he said.

Perhilitan, said Hasnan, already had its enforcement staff stationed at most major points such as the KLIA, Penang International Airport, Senai, Port Klang and CIQ Sultan Iskandar.

“Wildlife trafficking occurs at airports that use air cargo and postal services,” he said.

Asked if staff in transportation services could have been involved in such trafficking or whether these were carried out by passengers, Hasnan said: “Due to the frequent change in modus operandi and sophisticated concealment method, several parties may be involved.”

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