PETALING JAYA: Malaysia needs to find effective solutions to counter threats to the environment as it moves to become a developed nation, says social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
He said public education and awareness campaigns need to be ramped up to stop the nation from losing more of its wildlife to poaching, the illegal wildlife trade, deforestation and road accidents.
"Wildlife species have been declining due to poaching and illegal deforestation, even in protected areas. We should not allow more species to face the same fate as the Sumatran rhino, which is already extinct in the wild.
"For the relevant laws to succeed, there must be public education and awareness efforts to encourage the public to fight against wildlife exploitation and appreciate their existence," he said.
Lee was responding to The Star's reports on the Wildlife and National Parks Department's (Perhilitan) proposed amendments to the Wildlife Conservation (Hunting Prohibited Areas) Order 2013 and Wildlife Conservation (Open Season, Methods and Times of Hunting) Order 2014, which aim to cut down open season hunting for wild boars in order to protect other threatened wildlife such as tigers.
Lee said such a move was timely and was also in line with the Government's decision to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 to imprison poachers for more than 10 years and fine them up to RM5mil in bid to curb rampant poaching.
"We must find ways to help increase the population of tigers, which now number fewer than 200 based on the latest findings of the country’s First National Tiger Survey," he said on Monday (June 3).
It was reported that Perhilitan also plans to propose for a Wildlife Assessment Impact report to be carried out before any development to further protect endangered wildlife.