KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia bagged two awards for successfully curbing illegal trade in wildlife and plastic waste shipments in 2019 at the 5th Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards.
In a virtual ceremony today, the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and police received an award for their "Save Our Malaysian Tiger Campaign".
Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim accepted the award on behalf of the two entities.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador was also present at the same virtual ceremony.
Department of Environment (DoE) director-general Norlin Jaafar, meanwhile, accepted another award on behalf of the department's Enforcement Division which successfully repatriated illegally shipped plastic waste.
Under the "Save our Malaysian Tiger Campaign", Perhilitan and police set up the Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah (OBK) task force and worked closely with state agencies and non-governmental organisations to protect Malayan tigers from poachers and to increase patrols in protected areas in Peninsular Malaysia.
The joint operation led to the arrests of 87 wildlife criminals comprising 49 foreigners and 33 Malaysians; the destruction of 460 wire snares; and, a total seizure valued at RM2.7 million.
Following the operation's success, the task force expanded geographical operations into Sabah and Sarawak to further protect wildlife from environmental crime.
Meanwhile, the DoE was acknowledged for repatriating more than 200 shipping containers of illegal plastic waste and for shutting several illegal plastic recycling facilities.
In November 2019, the DoE repatriated 42 containers of illegally shipped plastic waste, with the help of the then Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry and authorities from the United Kingdom.
The initiative came on the heels of the government's aim to address concerns that Malaysia was one of the world's largest importers of plastic waste.
The award, hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in partnership with the UN Development Programme, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Interpol, the secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the World Customs Organisation, selected eight winners for its 2020 edition.
The other winners include the Philippines Operation Group on Ivory and the Illegal Wildlife Trade (POGI), India's Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and several individual officers who risked their lives to cripple and upend wildlife trade and plastic waste smuggling syndicates.