Friday, November 14, 2008

Slaughtering Malaysia's most wonderful assets

Take a look at either this site or this one.
And sign this petition here. Please. My signature is number 107. I have seen some of these things with my own eyes, and it breaks my heart. Rarely can I spend a week in the forest and not see evidence of poaching.

And here is a letter I just wrote to a local newspaper, The Star.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Yesterday saw the announcement of a major haul of slaughtered Malaysian wildlife – over 8,000 animals and birds dead, including 13 protected species. Congratulations to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) on uncovering the crime and capturing one of the alleged criminals to blame for this horrendous butchery.

Unfortunately, we have already started to see the courts undermine the Department’s good work by allowing the alleged poacher out on bail for a meagre 19,000 RM. This was a theft of Malaysia’s living assets – not to mention an appalling cruelty to our wildlife. I hope we do not again soon see perpetrators of such a crime given a slap across the wrist and a meagre fine. If we do, then we will wonder if the Malaysian legal system regards our living assets as virtually valueless and has only contempt for the work of another government department. The bail money was nothing to someone who makes millions out of stealing from us; the market value of what PERHILITAN found was more than $3 million.

They stole from me, from every Malaysian, from our children, from the future health of our biodiversity. They stole from our travel industry and all those who bring tourists into our country to see these wonders of nature. They stole not just these birds and animals, but the young they would have given birth to, ensuring the continuity of their species. We are all victims of this crime. Please see that justice is served.

I have already heard people say that there is nothing much that the courts can do because the updated Wildlife Act has not been passed into law. Why not? It has been 15 years of more in the making! I am tired of reading about politicians jockeying for power and position within their various political parties. Enough talk - do something! Impressing me means passing that act, and soon.

In the meantime, let the courts show us they mean business under the limits of the present act. This man was a repeat offender. He paid a fine last time and doubtless laughed at the paltry amount. Selling Malaysia’s living assets earns poachers millions, and they don’t pay a cent in tax on it either.

Why not file charges separately on each of the 13 counts of killing a protected animal? And impose the maximum fine ($RM 15,000) for each protected species on anyone convicted? At least a fine of RM$195,000 might hurt a little. Better still, the law also allows up to 10 years in prison. A long prison sentence will show others who do this that they can no longer treat our wildlife and our laws with contempt while they get rich ― and get away with it.

4 comments:

Jo said...

Glenda, might I suggest you also contact the World Wildlife Fund who are fighting just this kind of thing all over the world. I am sure they would be willing to help. I will certainly sign the petitions. I think it is a dreadful situation.

Glenda Larke said...

WWF is one of the groups promoting the petition...

Jo said...

Oh, OK I didn't realise that. I have written to them anyway. I will send you a copy of my letter.

Sarah said...

I feel sick, having seen those pictures and read that information. How can this still be going on, in this day and age? I signed the petition.

I just dont understand.