Sabah Parks going after whale shark rider in Semporna waters

KOTA KINABALU: Riding on whale sharks is a serious offence and Sabah Parks is going after the man who was filmed doing so in the waters off Semporna.

Shocked by the incident, Sabah Parks director Maklarin Lakim said shark riding, turtle and starfish touching, coral lifting and any of such actions were not allowed when carrying out leisure activities at islands or waters off the state.

“We are investigating this case and collecting information. This is a serious offence and cannot be taken lightly.

“We hope to find the man so that further action can be taken,” he said yesterday.

In a 17-second video, believed to be taken at Pulau Sibuan last Friday, a man, said to be a tour guide, is seen riding on a whale shark.

This came to light following a report by the Semporna Professional Diver Association (SPDA), who expressed dismay over the incident, with its president Suzimin Idris suggesting that only licensed guides should be allowed to operate to prevent such incidents.

Maklarin said all tour guides should know the rules of the park and were supposed to abide by the various by-laws and enactments.

“We believe that person could either be a freelance guide or an illegal guide who was overexcited to be on the job when he came across the marine creature,” he added.

Under the Parks Enactment 1984, Maklarin pointed out that one was not allowed to touch or possess any of the marine species on islands or parks within Sabah Parks, unless with permission and supervision for research and other scientific purposes.

He said an offender could either be fined or jailed, upon conviction.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said the department, which covers jurisdiction outside of Sabah Parks areas, had similar prohibitions.

“Under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, one can be fined between RM50,000 and RM150,000 or jailed between six months and three years, or both upon conviction,” he said.

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In Nation

Bidor breakout: Remaining 30 escapees hiding among own community
Take the bull by the horns and save the country, Hamzah tells PM on declining ringgit
King's speech highlights urgency to implement MA63, says Kitingan
Five members of Ayahanda Harimau Kumbang group charged in court
Home Ministry monitoring Quran apps, says only one is Jakim-approved
Those who refuse to testify in Batu Puteh RCI face arrest, says Azalina
Use of nuclear technology can be expanded to improve people's living standards, says Mosti
Nine suspects including five foreigners detained for rioting in Kota Kinabalu
Baby boy killed in multi-vehicle crash in Jasin
Ahadin receives letter of appointment as new Chief Syarie Judge of Sabah

Others Also Read