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'Previous govt didn't do enough'
Published on: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal wants necessary and appropriate action taken to put a stop to more unnecessary deaths of Sabah's endangered wildlife.

The directive followed the deaths of six Borneo pygmy elephants within a month since early April.

"Perhaps, the previous government did not have the political will to push through more drastic actions that would affect big logging companies and plantations? I don't know why it still occurs after so many claims of solutions from the previous government," he said.

"I do not want lip service. I want to see short and long-term conservation plans drawn up to be implemented on a fast track basis. The Warisan government will facilitate such efforts and not bow down to pressure from any groups.

"Here, I want to see that Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department work closely together towards protecting the wildlife and forests," he said, and called on the Department to conduct a thorough probe into the deaths and take necessary and appropriate action.

"They should also work with NGOs in fast-tracking forest corridors without fear of business interest of individuals." Shafie who issued the statement upon his arrival from Kuala Lumpur at 3.30pm, Monday, also directed State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew to immediately get a briefing on the situation and see how best to fast-track all necessary efforts to protect wildlife.

"I read with great sadness the deaths of six Borneo pygmy elephants over a month," he said.

"If real measures had been taken to check on human-elephant conflict as well as other issues including poaching, the deaths of these endangered gentle giants of Sabah, with one as young as a year-old, would not have occurred.

"I understand from reports that the cause of deaths of the elephants has yet to be established," he said.

He said the Parti Warisan Sabah government is committed towards the preservation and conservation of Sabah's wildlife and natural resources.

"I am aware much has been said and perhaps done by the past government. However, the deaths of the elephants, whether by poaching or other causes continue unabated."

He said he believe that the network is there for the implementation but there has been little will in the past to push it through.

The latest incident was reported following the discovery of an elephant carcass, believed to be a baby elephant, floating in Sungai Kinabatangan on Saturday.

Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga was quoted as saying that they take such cases very seriously.

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