New Straits Times (Malaysia)
May 6, 2001
TEMERLOH - The Science, Technology and Environment Ministry will
this year push for amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act 1972
to give it more bite.
Its Minister Datuk Law Hieng Ding said today that under the proposed
amendments, the penalty for offenders would be increased by 100
per cent. "Currently, the maximum fine for poaching is RM6,000
or three years' jail, or both."
He said under the amendments, enforcement against poachers could
be carried out more effectively.
"We are proposing that the power to detain poachers be extended
to community leaders in the peninsula like village headmen, tok
batin and tribe leaders. They will be given licence to carry firearms,"
he said, adding that they would also be given incentives.
Currently, only community leaders in Sarawak are given the power
to act against poachers.
Law was speaking after opening the National Biological Conservation
Training Centre in Bukit Rengit and also the Elephant Conservation
Centre in Kuala Gandah, Lanchang. The Ministry also held its family
Also present were Deputy Minister Datuk Zainal Dahalan, Parliamentary
Secretary Fu Ah Kiow, secretary-general Ng Kam Chiu and National
Parks and Wildlife Department's (Perhilitan) director-general Musa
Law said poaching, especially at the country's wildlife and forest
reserves, was quite rampant and the authorities had to be very strict
about it. Last month, a female Sumatran rhinoceros was found shot
and its head missing in Sabah.
"Currently, Perhilitan only has about 800 enforcement officers
serving in the peninsula where a vast area has been gazetted as
national parks and reserves for wildlife.
"Although we have plans to beef up the department's enforcement
unit, we still need the assistance of the community leaders."
Law said the Ministry would urge courts to mete out the maximum
penalties for poachers.