Compensate people for crop destruction by animals, says Masiung
Published on: Monday, November 28, 2022
By: FMT, Tracy Bul
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Compensate people for crop destruction by animals, says Masiung
Masiung Banah says there are laws to protect the animals but none to defend villagers whose crops are destroyed.
Kota Kinabalu: A Sabah assemblyman has urged the state government to enact laws that will provide compensation to people who suffer economic losses due to the destruction of crops by animals.

Kuamut assemblyman Masiung Banah said his constituents have repeatedly become victims of these encroachments by animals, especially elephants, which have destroyed hundreds of acres of padi fields and oil palm plantations.

“We have enough animal protection legislation. But these animals would come in groups into the villages and destroy the villagers’ crops.

“If the villagers decide to kill these animals, the villagers will be arrested. But when the animals threaten the lives of the people, and there are deaths as a result of these animal attacks, nobody defends them,” he said when debating the 2023 budget at the state assembly here today.

He said the compensation should be in the form of agricultural assistance or monetary aid of equal value to the crops destroyed by the animals.

“Elephants don’t care, they aren’t concerned about us. They come across padi fields, they destroy them. When they see oil palm trees, they will knock them down. Our people rely on padi and oil palm for their livelihood,” he said.

Kuamut is an area within the central Sabah elephant range with an estimated pygmy elephant or Borneo elephant population of 387 as of last year.

They are classified as a fully protected species in Sabah but this does not stop the killing of the animals, either accidentally or deliberately, including through poaching, poisoning and revenge or retaliation killing.

The pygmy elephant is a fully protected species under the First Schedule of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

In 2016, the state government amended the enactment to provide for stiffer penalties for offences committed against wildlife. Under Section 25(1) of the enactment, those convicted face a fine of up to RM250,000 and a jail term of no less than five years.

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