KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has called for stronger enforcement to battle wildlife crimes to prevent the palm oil industry from getting a bad reputation.
The Sabah Chief Minister hinted that there might be some who are quick to blame the industry following recent elephant deaths.
Commenting on the latest jumbo death, he said,"I was made aware but I have not gotten the full details. So let us wait."
"But there is a need for revamp in the enforcement part.
"We also need to engage small-scale planters and farmers, and not just large plantations (in managing this situation)," he said when asked if there was a need to revamp Sabah's conservation efforts.
Shafie said this to reporters after a state-level public sector innovation award ceremony on Monday (Nov 4).
Shafie said if the situation worsens, the implication will not only affect plantations here, but also the image of the country.
"I also appreciate the recent statement by the Inspector-General of Police that the authorities wanted to increase enforcement (in combating wildlife trade and poaching)," he added.
There have been three elephant deaths in five weeks, with the latest on Sunday (Nov 3) where a pygmy elephant's carcass was found floating down from the upper reaches of the Kinabatangan river, around Kampung Batu Puteh.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga did not rule out foul play and is waiting for post-mortem to be completed.
Meanwhile, Shafie who received a courtesy call from outgoing state secretary Datuk Hashim Paijan earlier, said he will announce the new state secretary on Wednesday (Nov 6) after the state cabinet meeting.
Paijan officially completed his tenure on Friday (Nov 1) based on mandatory retirement at 60 years old, after serving in the post since July 9 last year.
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