‘Impose stricter law to protect turtles’
Published on: Monday, February 11, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government have been urged to consider amending its Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 to tighten effort to fully protect animal killings such as sea turtles.

Following the arrest of three foreigners involved in turtle butchering, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Hazard (Niosh) Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the current enactment that is supposed to protect the endangered species seem to lack bite in protecting the creatures.

He said although the current law carries a fine of up to RM250,000 and five years jail, it seems insufficient in curbing the killing of the protected species.

“The State Government should consider amending the enactment to make the killing of fully protected animals as a strict liability offence while the punishment should also be increased.

“Although the present law provides harsh punishment, it has failed to deter poachers especially foreigners.

“I hope the government could study the present legislations and streamline them. The penalties should also be increased as a deterrent to the locals and foreigners,” he said in a statement. 

Lee said various parties have expressed their concern over this matter as Sabah’s diving havens off Semporna are becoming a killing field for endangered sea turtles, with growing number of their carcasses found over the years.

Due to the demands for sea turtle meat in the black market in conjunction with the large areas of water surrounding the State, has presented challenges in tackling poaching issues.

The animal activist also urged that the laws to protect turtles all over Malaysia should be uniformed as the State laws governing turtles were inadequate and unable to protect the endangered creatures.

He also said enforcement agencies should play their part in strengthening cooperation and setting up a task force against turtle smuggling to increase enforcement in selected areas where poaching and trade usually occurs.

“I believe that stringent laws and increased in public education and awareness could help protect the endangered species which have dwindled in numbers in the past few decades,” he added.

On Thursday, the Malaysian Armed Forces Joint Task Force 2 (ATB 2) soldiers detained three foreigners for catching and killing turtles in the waters off Pulau Ligitan, Semporna.

During the operation, six turtle shells were recovered from the men, aged between 25 and 45-years-old.

Meanwhile, on Oct 29 last year, two Filipinos were slapped with three years jail and fined RM100,000 each by the Tawau Sessions Court for hunting and killing the critically endangered green turtles in Semporna waters.


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