THE Federal Government must ensure poachers receive the toughest punishment available under the amended Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
Johor Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) vice-president Vincent Chow said meting out the most severe punishment to poachers would deter future smuggling.
“Malaysia must send a message to poachers that when they are caught, they will be severely punished.
“This will stop other poachers from even thinking about coming to hunt our wildlife,” he said.
Last Oct 26, the Dewan Rakyat unanimously voted in favour of amendments to the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which will ensure that poachers and illegal wildlife traders face higher penalties and longer imprisonment terms.
Among the amendments are increasing the maximum fine from RM500,000 to RM1mil while the maximum jail term has also been raised to between 10 and 15 years.
Chow also urged the government to channel more allocations to the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan), to empower the agency against poachers.
“Perhilitan does not have enough manpower and this has been a major obstacle in carrying out checks and operations against poachers.
“Due to deforestation, our forest areas are shrinking and this has made it much easier for poachers to find the animals they want.
“While poachers previously used to take two to three days to track down a specific animal, nowadays it takes them less than a day to do so,” he said.