Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wildlife Protection in Malaysia

Of late, Malaysia became well known internationally for the wrong reasons:

1) For purported human trafficking;

We read in the report that in fact a tourist guide was charged in court for trafficking some women from China. Before that, we read of cases of trafficking involving Bangladeshis who were caught off the coast of Johor. There will be many more cases that goes unreported because no one is arrested. Since it is a lucrative trade, there will always be rooms for corruption.

2) The convicted wildlife smuggler Anson Wong who is dubbed as ‘Pablo Escobar’ of wildlife trafficking is actually a Malaysian, operating from Penang. The response from the director general is a typical example of a very layback officer, saying that it is an old story. Whether it is old or new, it does not speaks well of the Wildlife Department of Malaysia since the conviction of Anson Wong was due to the effort of US rather than Malaysia’s Wildlife Department.

A few years ago, I remember reading clearly that when this gentleman was highlighted in the press with Kuala Lumpur as the hub for wildlife trafficking; there was strong denial by the Wildlife Department. . Penangite Anson Wong was subsequently arrested following a sting operation set up by the US authority. This does not augur well for the image of the Malaysia Wildlife Department when trafficking occurs right under our nose and it needs the US authority to arrest the criminal.

In fact, the government should not stop at the conviction of Anson Wong. They should do house cleaning within the Wildlife Department so that whatever networking established for the smuggling of wildlife can be wiped out.

Malaysia is regarded as one of the 12 countries with mega bio-diversities with rich flora and fauna. However, if we are not careful in managing our forests and wildlife, then our children and definitely grandchildren will only be seeing wildlife in the zoo. Ever since monitor lizard and the anteater called pangolin suddenly become exotic food, you can see that their numbers have dropped dramatically. My house in Batu Pahat is situated at the foot of Gunung Soga. It is a protected forest. It is not surprising then to see snakes, iguana and even anteaters making its way in front of my house. I have been staying there for about 15 years. Of late, I hardly see anyone of them. There are professionals who go around capturing iguanas and anteaters since the meat fetch very good price in China and Taiwan. Before long, I won’t be surprised that the iguanas and anteaters become extinct.

I fully agree that the Wildlife Department is grossly understaffed. A lot of its staff members regard it as a job to earn a living. There is no passion in looking after the wildlife. To compound the problem since the wildlife is valuable in the black market, then one can imagine that the wildlife smuggler would do all he can to bribe his way through. Our Wildlife Protection Act is totally inadequate and ineffective. The fine is too low to be a deterrent. Unless the Act is reviewed with mandatory jail sentence and even whipping, wildlife trafficking will continue.


talkosong said...

many times in kuching i see protected species of the water turtle been hang upside down alive at the roadside for sale and i myself have call the forestry many times to ask them to go and seize this turtles but i don't know if they did.just imagine sales are conducted at the roadside of this protected species.

also there are people going around shooting wild boars, bats, deers and they don't have a license to shoot.and if this is not disgusting enough, there are shops that openly sell bat, wild boar, dog, turtle, deer etc meat.

i don't know what the enforcement officers are doing but i sure they are not 'sleeping'.

it won't be long before Noah's ark have to be rebuilt or otherwise all animals will perish from this planet

save the animal kingdom

Unknown said...

Dear Dr Chua,

Tuanku totally agreed with "Talkosong" comments. In fact, the enforcement officers and authorities are not only sleeping in their jobs but close one eye or both eyes to ignore many complaints from Rakyat on abuse of power on illegal human trafficking , illegal trades and hunting of protected and unprotected species and animals in our Malaysia BolehLand.

Not many Malaysians are willing to come forward as witnesses now since we have lost faith and never trust the law enforcement bodies, pdrm and authorities. For good instance, witnesses become the suspects or being tortured for hours or they lost witness rights. To add salt to the wound, we also read the law enforcement people working closely or corrupted by those illegal traders/ hunters/
traffickers to escape from prosecutions and captured.

Well, it is an open secret to know and see that our many wildlife protected Species are on sale in many pasar malam stalls. wet markets and export via underground world. Rakyat complain letters and papers will ended up in filing cabinets or dustbins in many law enforcement offices today.

Do you believe it or not ? Try to lodge a simple complain letter with supporting photos on illegal wildlife trades on protected species to the authorites today.
You will get simple result : NFA
( No Futher Action !!) similar like MACC closed all eyes on complaints lodged against PKFZ scandal and Khir Toyo empire palace. But MACC focus on "halal ikan bilis biz", a small accusations against the Opposition leaders until the witness was missing in action the next day.

Last but not least, Malaysia is a DisneyBolehLand even the wildlife species are victims of BN leadership today.

Pearls said...

When the buying stops, so will the killing! That's the essence to combat such problem.

As for Malaysia's Wildlife Department, it is a waste of time, money (which we now cannot afford) and effort. I suggest we close it down since the department is not performing and the officers are not the least bothered. Bad department with bad attitude and bad staff. A good reason to shut it down! Dont waste time talking about how to improve, what can be done when those goonies in there are beyond redemption!

Centre for Borderless Markets and Economy said...

“Protection of Wildlife:Do not Exceed Legal Safeguards”
13th October 2010

The view expressed in “Wildlife trading is like human trafficking” ( NST-13 Oct 2010, at page 19) is a rather unpopular position adopted by this category of environmental advocacy movement.

There is no doubt, serious impact on the environment and natural habitat of wildlife due to illegal poaching, uncontrolled destruction and overutilization of the natural resources in Malaysia.

This situation does not warrant the authority to put a stop to the issuance of license for wildlife and logging activities for that matter.

This is because the licensing system is a mechanism of check and control which can fulfill certain positive environmental and economic objectives.

In this regard, the recently passed Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 has addressed the licensing issue in a most effective manner.

However, the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 could further be improved by incorporating a provision from the 1992 EC Directive on Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Flora and Fauna particularly the provision requiring the return and maintenance of threatened or endangered species to "favourable conservation status".

All relevant authorities and environmental stakeholders must therefore take cognizance of all the legal provisions as per the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and to observe, act, prosecute and enforce these provisions within the legal boundary prescribed for by the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 with a view to achieve long-term symbiotic relationship between wildlife, the natural environment at large and economic reality.

Jeong Chun phuoc
and an advocate in Strategic Environment and Taxation Intelligence(SETI)
He can be contacted at

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