MYCAT, a conservation alliance of the Malaysian Nature Society, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia, welcomes the announcement by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks on the coming into force of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
The much awaited Act, with stronger provisions against offenders, is a breakthrough in the fight against wildlife crime in the country.
Malaysia has in recent years seen a sizeable increase in wildlife crime; and 2010 saw some successes, with various raids and some prosecutions. The new Act must now function as a crucial tool for the department to further enhance its efforts in addressing various forms of wildlife crime.
The Act also allows other enforcement agencies to be empowered to take action against wildlife crimes. The heightened penalties and enhanced prison terms will undoubtedly be a deterrent to poachers, smugglers and illegal wildlife traders.
The effectiveness of any law lies ultimately in its successful implementation, which involves the entire chain, from competent gathering of information, investigation, enforcement, prosecution to sentencing.
Every part of the chain must deliver to the public’s expectations. Disproportionately light sentences meted out for serious offences should be a thing of the past.
MyCat pledges its continued support and commitment to enforcement agencies.
We firmly believe joint initiatives by all concerned groups and relevant authorities will greatly expedite much needed action that will demonstrate Malaysia’s seriousness about protecting its wildlife. We urge the administrative and judicial arms of the Government to exert their full powers in the war to protect our nature from further exploitation.
NOOR AZURA AHMAD, Communications Officer, MYCAT.