KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah and Sarawak have been urged to amend their wildlife protection laws to increase punishments for wildlife crimes.
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said this would match the Federal Government’s move to implement heftier fines and jail terms in efforts to tackle wildlife smuggling and poaching.
“Sabah and Sarawak have their own enactments, so I hope after the bill to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 is passed, they will amend theirs as well,” he said at the Parliament lobby today.
He was commenting on the recent killing of a pygmy elephant. It found with its two tusks removed in Beluran, Sabah, on Oct 19.
The case is being investigated under Section 25(1) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 for hunting a totally protected animal.
It was the second case in a span of a month.
On Sept 23, a pygmy elephant was shot dead in Sungai Udin near Tawau.
It had at least 70 gunshot wounds on its body, and its tusks were also removed.
Follow-up operations led to the arrest of six suspects, including an immigrant, who were believed to be involved in the brutal killing.
Police seized firearms, bullets and a pair of elephant tusks during the arrests.
It was previously reported that the ministry was amending the act to imprison poachers for up to 10 years and fine them up to RM1 million upon conviction.
The amendment is expected to be tabled by year-end.
Dr Xavier said investigations into the death of the pygmy elephant on Oct 19 had begun and said he hoped the perpetrators would be brought to book.
He added that the Wildlife and National Parks Department had started a study to determine the number of rangers needed and where they should be deployed, based on the budget allocated.
“However, this will only be applied in Peninsular Malaysia.
“If Sabah and Sarawak want rangers they would need to allocate their own budget.”