KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia is setting the groundwork for an Asean push against wildlife trafficking during its tenure as chairman of the regional grouping.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said international collaboration was needed in tackling the trafficking of endangered and protected wildlife, which had become increasingly linked to other illegal activities affecting security and stability.
“This is not a problem impacting just one country or region. It is a global scourge,” he said after launching the first Asean workshop on combating wildlife trafficking at Tuaran near here yesterday.
The three-day meeting, he said, was the first of its kind under the Asean Regional Forum – Asia’s biggest security gathering – and would provide for sustained political support in tackling wildlife trafficking.
It is also among seven initiatives that Malaysia is co-hosting to address non-traditional security challenges affecting the region, including humanitarian assistance, disaster response as well as combating terrorism and extremism.
“We need to collaborate. One country increasing its assets in tackling this problem is not enough.
“This forum brings experts together. We want them to tell us what needs to be done,” added Anifah.
On Chief Judge of Borneo Tan Sri Richard Malanjum’s suggestion for stiffer penalties against poachers and wildlife traffickers, Anifah said he agreed with it.
“But at the same time, we have to recognise that despite harsh penalties such as the death sentence for drug trafficking, the problem still persists. We need to tackle this comprehensively,” he said.
This was the first such forum, said Anifah, that Malaysia was collaborating with the United States, which was represented by its Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment Catherine Novelli.
Also present was US Ambassador Joseph Yun.