Malaysia: Stricter law needed to stop wildlife poaching - Lee Lam Thye

Masriwanie Muhamading New Straits Times 13 Jul 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: Animal rights activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye has called on the government to introduce a more stringent law to better curb wildlife poaching activities in the country.

Lee, who said poachers have become more cruel in their technique to trap and capture endangered animals, stressed that there was a need for the government to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

The amendment, Lee said, should include a mandatory minimum jail term not just for those who were found guilty to be involved in poaching activities, but also to those who possess the carcasses of wild animals.

“Although the Wildlife Conservation Act, which was passed in 2010 to replace the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, is tough on lawbreakers, some quarters claim that it does not serve as a strong enough deterrent.

“It is learnt that the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) had proposed the amendment of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 so that poachers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“It will provide harsher punishments and a minimum period of imprisonment will be introduced. Currently, there’s no such provision in the current Act,” he said.

Lee also urged the authorities to be more proactive in their effort to curb the sale and purchase of endangered animals through more effective national and international legislation and enforcement, including the implementation of the latest technology.

“I hope the enforcement agencies can strengthen their cooperation to help cripple poaching syndicates nationwide.

“The agencies involved must also use the latest technology, including drones, remote sensing and camera trapping, to curb poaching and smuggling activities all over the country.

“Greater public awareness, better law enforcement and stronger political will are needed to not only prevent illegal wildlife trade but also to avoid over-exploitation of natural resources. We must leave no stones unturned in addressing the issue,” he said.

Lee, however, stressed that the protection of wildlife is not the responsibility of the enforcement agencies alone, but requires collaborations with various parties including non-governmental organisations, the government, corporate stakeholders and local communities.

“Animal cruelty in whatever form must never be tolerated and we need to care for all them as they also have the right to live and share this planet,” he added.

He also urged Malaysians to play an active role and report wildlife-related crimes to the Perhilitan hotline at 1-800-88-5151 (office hours) or the 24-hour Wildlife Crime Hotline at 0193564194.

The New Straits Times reported on Friday (July 13) that a group of Vietnamese poachers, who were detained in Kuala Lipis on July 4, were found to have been gaining lucrative returns on the black market by harvesting all types of wildlife.

Various wildlife parts including bear teeth and claws, python skins, serow’s tail, wild boar tooth, as well as parts of tigers and clouded leopards were seized from the premises where the poachers were found.

A Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) source said the group, which had been actively involved in illegal hunting activities for several years, utilised a premise located near a sawmill to kill and harvest the animals before selling them to the middlemen.