Daily Express
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DAP: How come Esscom unaware?

Published on: Monday, March 24, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: DAP Sabah wants the Government to explain how the "mass killing" of protected sea turtles could have gone unnoticed on Pulau Tiga, particularly Esscom, at the northern side of Balambangan-Banggi channel, north of Kudat.

DAP Sabah Secretary, Dr Edwin Bosi said the revelation by UMS researcher-lecturer Dr James Alin of this turtle "massacre" must be investigated immediately.

"I dread to think how many more would have been captured and ended up dead or traded in the neighbouring countries," he said in a statement, Sunday.

Dr Bosi, who is Kapayan Assemblyman said this should not have happened again as "we had once detained foreign vessels in our waters with hundreds of sea turtles." After the arrest and legal action, turtle poaching seemed to have disappeared until the latest report. "What it means is that turtle poaching in our waters had not stopped. We have just been very complacent.

"I am not amused with this report because Sabah Parks have been working so hard on turtle conservation at the turtle islands of Selingan, Bakkungan, Gulisan and also at Sipadan. Turtle eggs are dug and placed in protected turtle nurseries and thousands of baby turtles are released each year. Reaching adulthood for these hatchlings is already challenging.

"Slaughtering them when they are adults is putting not only Malaysia but also the world's turtle conservation effort years behind. With such lucrative sea turtle trade, extinction of the species is not too far away," he said.

"We should be ashamed that this avoidable incident has recurred. I am disappointed and I urge the Government to get the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) to incorporate into their maritime security, turtle protection.

"The Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) was established about March 7, 2013 and covers an area of 1400km from Tawau to Kudat. This turtle poaching activity should have been discovered by the security forces," he said.

On another note, Sabah DAP also wanted to know when the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah (RCI) will be released.

Bosi, said the party was concerned about the status of the RCI that commenced on Jan 14 2013 and during the process has interviewed as many as 211 witnesses.

"There were eight Terms of Reference (TOR) and Malaysians, especially in Sabah, are eagerly waiting to know what the five-member panel had arrived at," he said.