Malaysia Cracks Down on Illegal Poaching and Environmental Offenses
Endangered Malayan tiger by Jöshua Barnett @flickr
In a recent workshop entitled ‘Environmental Protection in Sarawak – The Way Forward,” Malaysian Chief Judge Richard Malajum urged the public to act more considerately towards the environment, and explained that the purpose of this and following workshops would be to crack down on environmental offenses.
The workshop followed a series of tightenings on environmental laws in Malaysia. The laws are aimed at protecting its natural wildlife from illegal poaching and logging, and the workshops will educate citizens, court justices and law enforcement officers about how to deal more effectively with illegal activity.
Exotic animals are often hunted in Malaysia. Shark fins are served as delicacies in restaurants, the Sumatran rhinoceros is threatened by illegal poaching, and so are the highly endangered Malayan Tiger and many other rare and beautiful animals that call Malaysia home.
Poaching has been illegal in Malaysia for a long time, but the old regulations have not impeded hunters from placing snares that catch anything unfortunate enough to wander into them. It seems Malaysia has not had the resources or know-how to track down and arrest illegal poaching offenders, and the penalties for those who are caught are not severe enough to offset the gains to be made from wildlife trafficking and selling exotic animal parts.
Malajum is determined to fix this problem.
“We will review the laws to see through any weaknesses and shortcomings and improve them so as to implement an effective legal framework,” he said.
In some ways, the crackdown has already begun. In the August 13 workshop, Malajum warned that offenders found guilty of possession of wild meat or protected species will not simply be slapped with a fine, but serve at least six months in jail.
The second workshop will provide special training for investigative officers and prosecuting officers – enabling them to more effectively find concrete evidence of crimes and improving their understanding of court procedures to enhance the connection between court and enforcement strategies.
“There will be no escape unless we do something about it. If we are not careful with our actions today, we will suffer the consequences later in the future,” added Malajum.