KUALA LUMPUR: Amendments to the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 are being mulled to deal with online illegal wildlife trade, says Water, Land and Natural Resources Deputy Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji.
"The Ministry is proposing changes to the law which involves amending 78 sections under the Act and creating 10 new sections.
"This is to strengthen existing laws in effort to better protect our wildlife and fauna," he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (BN-Parit) during Question Time in Parliament on Monday (April 1).
Tengku Zulpuri acknowledged that new laws were needed to tackle rising cases of online illegal wildlife trade.
He said that amendments will also look at increasing penalties for illegal wildlife traders and poachers.
This, he said, includes the need for a wildlife impact assessment report for proposed future development projects.
Earlier, Tengku Zulpuri told lawmakers that the Wildlife Department had foiled 167 cases of wildlife smuggling between 2011 and 2018.
He added the cases involved the smuggling of orang utans, pangolins, tortoises and birds.
"For the record, the highest penalty imposed on wildlife smuggling was against three Indonesians who were slapped with fines of up to RM390,000 and jailed four years for attempting to smuggle a pair of orang utans last year," he said.
Last Sept 21, the Indonesians were detained near Langkawi on a boat attempting to smuggle wildlife from Indonesia into Thailand.
Besides the pair of orang utans, authorities also rescued two baby Albino foxes, two paradise birds, two alba cockatoos, two eclectus parrots, 21 long-tailed parakeet birds, a female great argus bird, 48 baby saltwater crocodiles and 355 sugar gliders.