Impose death penalty  for  poaching
Published on: Sunday, October 06, 2019


I REFER to the recent incident in Kalabakan where a pygmy elephant was shot 70 times at close range and its tusks removed.  It is sad to note that the elephant was tied by the riverbank, more than half of its body submerged in water and shot. 

Greed for money and demand for these animal parts have resulted in the deaths of many wild animals in this country. These poachers are the biggest threat to wildlife. Besides poachers, deforestation is also causing the extinction of animals such as Malayan tigers and Sumatran rhinos.

In 2017, the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry was considering the amendment of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 to make the killing of fully protected animals as a strict liability offence. It means that the burden of proof will be on the accused to substantiate that he did not commit the crime. What has happened to this proposal?

I recommend that the penalty under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 be amended. Anyone found guilty of killing wild animals should receive capital punishment, either via a death sentence or life imprisonment.

Besides that, hunting, sporting, commercial and other licences issued under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 need to be revised.

There is the possibility of abuse by certain quarters with the licences granted.

We also need to amend the penalties imposed under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 which applies to Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan. Again, anyone found guilty of killing wild animals should receive capital punishment.

The issuance of permits and licences under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 also needs to be more restricted and controlled. Further, the Arms Act 1960 needs to be amended. The issuance of licences for the use or purchase of firearms and ammunition (except wildlife officers) needs to be relooked.

A task force needs to be set up by the authorities to address the issue of illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) needs to increase its enforcement and personnel to work round the clock to prevent poachers from trespassing and killing wild animals in our country.

The Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry needs to review both the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. They need to put forward proposals to the Attorney General’s Chamber to amend and restrict the permit, licence, penalties and punishments imposed under these documents.

Besides that, all wildlife and enforcement officers in Malaysia need to be investigated for any abuse or corrupt practice.

The Ministry needs to submit a proposal to amend Section 128 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 which provides protection against suit and legal proceedings against an enforcement officer with respect to any act done or purported to be done by him unless the act was done in good faith and with reasonable belief that it was necessary.

We need the enforcement officers and the relevant agency or Ministry to be accountable and to have ownership in protecting our endangered wildlife from ruthless poachers.

 

GT

n While poaching is a major problem in protected areas in Sabah, in this instance it has emerged that the suspects were not poachers but guards at plantations where their duty was to ensure the elephants do not destroy the crops. – Ed





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