New Straits Times

SOLUTION TO POACHING, WILDLIFE TRADE

- DR MARK RAYAN DARMARAJ Country director, Wildlife Conservati­on Society Malaysia Programme

THE Wildlife Conservati­on Society Malaysia Programme (WCS Malaysia) congratula­tes the Royal Malaysia Police, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan), the Customs Department and other enforcemen­t agencies for arresting 127 individual­s, making RM31.86 million worth of seizures and destroying almost 300 animal traps under Op Bersepadu Khazanah this year.

This was revealed by Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim (“OBK proves successful in addressing wildlife offences” - NST, Nov 30).

At the same event, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim announced that police would set up a Wildlife Crime Bureau to investigat­e crimes related to wildlife (“Police to set up Wildlife Crime Bureau, to begin operations soon” - NST, Nov 30).

Mazlan said they had requested for 50 personnel for the unit, under the Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department. This unit is expected to assist Perhilitan in investigat­ing syndicates involved in wildlife smuggling and trade.

WCS Malaysia highly commends the plan to set up a Wildlife Crime Bureau under the purview of the police. It is an initiative that has been advocated for some years now, and well received and supported during the tenure of then IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.

This has continued to gain traction under the leadership of the new IGP, Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

Wildlife Crime Bureaus have been set up to good effect in the United Kingdom, Thailand, Nepal and India, which are serious about combating wildlife traffickin­g.

It is envisioned that Malaysia’s Wildlife Crime Bureau will enhance intelligen­ce gathering and coordinate investigat­ions among multiple agencies, leading to arrests of poachers who plunder our natural heritage.

It can be anticipate­d that crime syndicates in and outside of Malaysia would be more hesitant to operate as effective use of instrument­s like the Anti-Money Laundering Act (2001) could lead to the arrest of ring leaders, hitting them where it matters the most — their pockets.

It is crucial that the proposed Wildlife Crime Bureau continue to gather intelligen­ce on illegal wildlife trade network chains.

WCS Malaysia congratula­tes the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, Home Ministry, the police and Perhilitan for mooting the idea to set up the Wildlife Crime Bureau. We hope that the Finance Ministry, Public Service Department and other agencies would facilitate the formation of this Wildlife Crime Bureau.

Should this plan materialis­e, a new dawn of hope can be expected for our dwindling wildlife population­s, particular­ly the big cat species such as our Malayan tigers.

With the Wildlife Crime Bureau operationa­l soon, coupled with joint operations under Op Bersepadu Khazanah, Malaysia will be sending a serious message that we will stand tall in defending our national treasures and will not tolerate poaching and illegal wildlife trade. It is heartening to know that as a nation, we

are trying to give our wildlife a fighting chance to survive.

However, sustained funds for existing initiative­s such as Op Bersepadu Khazanah and new ones such as the Wildlife Crime Bureau need to be provided in tandem with political support so that the aspiration to

save our wildlife does not remain as glimpses of hope, but can be truly realised in the near future.

 ?? FILE PIC ?? The proposed Wildlife Crime Bureau will give our wildlife a fighting chance to survive.
FILE PIC The proposed Wildlife Crime Bureau will give our wildlife a fighting chance to survive.

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