Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
AMENDMENTS to the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 are being mulled to deal with online illegal wildlife trade, says Deputy Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji.
“We are proposing changes to the law, which involves amending 78 sections under the Act and the creation of 10 new sections.
“This is to strengthen existing laws to better protect the country’s wildlife and fauna,” he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (BN-Parit) during Question Time.
Tengku Zulpuri acknowledged that new laws were needed to tackle the many cases of illegal wildlife trade being conducted online.
He noted that the amendments would also look into increasing penalties for illegal wildlife traders and poachers.
Earlier, Tengku Zulpuri told lawmakers that the Wildlife and National Parks Department had foiled 167 cases of wildlife smuggling between 2011 and last year.
He added that the cases involved smuggling of animals such as orang utans, pangolins, tortoises and birds.
“The highest penalty imposed on wildlife smuggling was against three Indonesians, who were slapped with fines of up to RM390,000 and four years’ jail for attempting to smuggle a pair of orang utans last year,” he said.
The three Indonesians were detained near Langkawi on a boat, attempting to smuggle the apes from Indonesia into Thailand in September.
Besides the 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 glider squirrels.
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