KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department has pledged to investigate, without fear or favour, allegations that turtle eggs were part of the menu for a family reunion dinner involving an ex-assemblyman, says Datuk Jafry Ariffin (pic).
The state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said in a statement that there was no order to stop the investigation as “insinuated on social media”.
He said he had discussed the matter with department director Augustine Tuuga.
“I do understand the challenges of investigating the case as it would involve prosecution based on just photos without actually having the turtle eggs, ” said Jafry adding that he had directed Tuuga to use the department’s full resources to thoroughly investigate the matter.
Last week, a family member of the ex-assemblyman had posted on Facebook pictures of the reunion dinner, which included turtle eggs.
The posts were later taken down but screenshots of the dinner had gone viral with social media users demanding a full investigation.
Over the past few days, concerned citizens have been insinuating that there would not be further investigation as the case involved a VIP.
Several groups have publicly urged the department to probe the matter as consuming and selling turtle eggs go against efforts to conserve the endangered turtles in the state.
Jafry also ordered the department to “put more boots on the ground” to monitor the sale of illegal turtle eggs in some areas in Sandakan.
“It is our duty and responsibility as all Sabahans to protect and conserve Sabah’s critically endangered wildlife from extinction so that our future generations can enjoy their beauty and importance to the ecosystem, ” he added.