Archive for the ‘Environmental Education’ Category

Waste not to save the planet

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
There are other environmentally-friendly activities that can be encouraged, such as reducing usage of or refusing plastic bags, planting rooftop gardens, growing herbs and vegetables, and harvesting rainwater. – FILE PIC

AS a consumer advocate, I urge that children at schools be exposed to the many ways of saving resources.

We generally see food wastage as a sin, so avoid wastage.

Eat what you can by all means but don’t waste. Everybody should eat and live in moderation. That is the right way to live.

Also, do not overeat. Do not waste God-given resources like food and water too.

It is wrong if we do that. Check your home for leaky taps and toilets.

When we wash dishes, fill a dishpan with water instead of running the tap water.

Use energy-saving power gadgets and devices in homes and offices. However, ensure they are Sirim-approved.

Run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machines to save water.

Take showers instead of baths. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.

There are other environmentally-friendly activities that can be encouraged, such as reducing usage of or refusing plastic bags, planting rooftop gardens, growing herbs and vegetables, and harvesting rainwater.

Strive to go green by all means and at all times so that we help protect and save the environment.

There is only one Mother Earth and we have to work hard to save this planet.

By BULBIR SINGH

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/12/544501/waste-not-save-planet

At least 50 per cent of Sabah will remain under forest cover — Shafie

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: In tackling deforestation in the state, the Sabah government ensures that about 50 percent of Sabah’s land area is always under forest cover and sufficient to provide ecosystem services like watershed areas and habitats for flora and fauna.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the overall forest cover in Sabah at the end of the 1980s was estimated at 44,750 square kilometers, slightly over 60 percent  of the Sabah’s total land area of 73,631 square kilometres.

In 2010, around 37,600 square kilometres or 51 percent of the Sabah’s land area were covered with forest, he said.

“In combating deforestation in the state, the government is under an obligation to ensure that about 50 percent of Sabah’s land area is always under forest cover and sufficient to provide ecosystem services like watershed areas and habitats for flora and fauna.

“The average deforestation rate of 0.75 percent per annum from 1990 to 2010, however, has nearly halved when compared with the 1980s,” he said at the opening ceremony of ‘Wood and Biofibre International Conference 2019 here yesterday. His speech was delivered by Sabah Infrastructure Minister Datuk Peter Anthony.

Mohd Shafie said the Sabah government was able to maintain the total forest cover over the years through its Sabah Forest Policy 2018, which stipulated that every dissolution of the forest reserve area must be replaced with an area of the same size or something bigger.

He said apart from natural forests, Sabah also has a vast area of forest plantations.

He added since 2012, Sabah has established about 226,000 ha of forest plantations, of which about 55 percent are cultivated with high-value commercial species.

The two-day conference is organised by the Institute of Tropical Forestry and Forest Products (INTROP), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

UPM Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Dr. Zulkifli Idrus, in his welcoming speech, said the conference was an important platform to strengthen relationships between industries, researchers and academics.

He said it was an excellent initiative to bring together industry and academia to discuss the latest developments in wood and biofibre, from upstream agricultural topic to downstream fibre processing and product advancement, as well as the socio-economic impact of these bio-resources.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/12/04/at-least-50-per-cent-of-sabah-will-remain-under-forest-cover-shafie/

Handle pollution issues, EU’s palm oil ban prudently

Sunday, November 24th, 2019
It is very simple to connect the dots and link them to potential companies behind the pollution. But no action was taken. – NSTP/HAIRUL ANUAR RAHIM

LET’S recap. We had two Pasir Gudang pollution incidents followed by a few river pollution cases that caused water treatment plants to shut down.

And recently, there was the haze too.

These issues have striking similarities. Once the incident is over, we tend to forget about it until the incident occurs again. Except for lip service from responsible parties, no concrete solutions will come of it.

The haze has been happening for more than two decades. In the 2020 Budget, RM27 million was allocated to manage anti-palm oil campaigns and another RM30 million to the Department of Environment and Department of Chemistry to deal with pollution issues.

Will we get value for money spent? What happened to the “full report” on Sg Kim Kim and the Pasir Gudang pollution?

Just look at how the haze situation makes Malaysia a loser.

It will start with denial followed by statements of regret. When pressure builds up in Malaysia, we get a reply that it’s only few months but it (Indonesia) gives clean air to breathe for the rest of the months.

If further pressure is applied, Indonesia will name a few Malaysian companies and then there is a short brouhaha.

Finally, that forgetful attitude kicks in again — until the same scenario repeats the following year. This is a simplified version on how the haze is dealt with in Malaysia. Can transboundary haze laws help? Frankly, the minister in charge of environment should look at the bigger picture and not merely follow Singapore to enact a law on transboundary haze.

Malaysia should include haze as one of the provisions. A legal agreement of cooperation between our neighbours should follow suit.

Use such a collaboration to further get Asean to adopt the Transboundary Pollution Cooperation Agreement to cover all types of pollution.

Just look at the Pasir Gudang situation.

It is very simple to connect the dots and link them to potential companies behind the pollution. But no action was taken.

What will we do if hazardous chemicals cross national boundaries to pollute a neighbouring country?

So, Asean needs to provide better protection for its people.

On the other hand, the anti-palm oil campaign can be handled professionally and swiftly. Once Malaysia and Asean weed out the bad companies, there will be improved standing for the industry itself.

If the palm oil industry is wrongfully accused, get the facts straightened out in a court case and use judicial review or other due processes to overturn the European Union ban on use of palm oil for biofuel.

If EU is defeated, this court verdict will become a free advertisement globally and the industry can clear its name.

Why use taxpayers’ money? In Malaysia, we use palm oil in almost everything, so why carry out a campaign here? The industry should fund any activity to protect its interest.

The Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia never expected the environment and safeguarding of people’s welfare to drop to such levels due to poor execution. It is even more heartbreaking to see the focus put on cheap publicity stunts.

So before any of the allocations are wasted, can the ministers in charge of palm oil and environment carry out the suggestions by the end of this year?

by PIARAPAKARAN. S

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/11/541480/handle-pollution-issues-eus-palm-oil-ban-prudently

Gearing for sustainable lifestyles

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
Man and nature are interconnected and interdependent. FILE PIC

IN the dialogue about staying sustainable in environmentally challenging times, there is a tendency to think about earth’s preservation through science. This is as it should be because scientific advances can bring about new and sustainable ways of living. In the automotive industry for example, cutting-edge technology has meant that conventional fuel cars are being replaced by the cleaner, environmentally-friendly electric car.

The replacement of fuel-powered vehicles for cheaper, battery-run vehicles has begun to take place in Europe and China. Yet, for all the scientific advancements, the estimated number of electric vehicles on these roads by 2025 remains unimpressive. European market share for electric vehicles has been estimated to only be at 3 per cent.

Why has fast-paced scientific advancement not brought on the desired transformation towards sustainable lifestyles in equal measure? Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid in his column (New Straits Times, July 24) acknowledged that although having scientific advancement is crucial for solving the problem of scarce resources, a reassessment to see this problem from a cultural and social perspective is called for.

To build on this call, the idea of sustainability as a social and cultural construct must also be located on a historical timeline. Thus, to make it easier to understand, we can look at this concept vis-a-vis past, present and future perspectives.

First, a look into the past. In antiquity, philosophers have long thought about man’s existence in relation with nature. Referred to as natural philosophers, thinkers like Socrates and Aristotle, or Newton and Locke, have contemplated about the relationships that human beings form with nature. For example, the view that reality is ‘out there’ and therefore independent of human interpretation versus reality being a co-construction of human action and interpretation are two opposing views that can shape attitudes differently.

The former view can be thought of as being exclusive while the latter is inclusive. The inclusive view argues for the idea that man and nature are interconnected and interdependent.

This is important to support perspectives that encourage living in sustainable ways. Entomologists and zoologist who hold the inclusive view have empirically documented the powerful connections that underlie man’s use of synthetic chemicals with the balance of insect and wildlife that both populate and sustain our land and seas.

The feminist environmentalist Rachel Carson was pivotal in championing what we see today as the modern, inclusive, environmentalist movement. Thus, from understanding our past, we can trace and follow the path to sustainability which has been charted.

Second and in the present time, the push to address climate change crisis has brought on a focused effort towards equipping children with environmental literacy. Again, this movement is not new because basic to our own science education is the learning of the life and energy cycles. However, what is new is a movement amongst Science literacy instructors i.e. teachers of Physical Science, Biological Science, Chemical Science,

Geographical Science to reclaim the space of environmental education from activists who may not have the pedagogical and technical know-how to impart specialist knowledge. This is important to note because it locates the responsibility of environmental education not just on the subject matter but on the sociocultural ways in which Science specialist teachers share, live and demonstrate their own sustainable living through the subjects they have been trained to teach.

This also means that the revival of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects must be accompanied by the teaching of Social Science and Humanities-based subjects that provide the context for how STEM is applied in new, challenging times. Linguistic, economic and historical knowledge are important building blocks that underpin how scientific knowledge can be best used. In this light, the significance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education should be the new pedagogical path for ensuring education for sustainable transformation.

Finally, in looking towards the future, the modern notion of sustainability, no doubt popularised by UNESCO’s 17 SDGs can be a new vehicle to further mobilise this long-standing concept of man-nature connectedness. However, merely bandying about catch phrases without asking difficult questions about our attitudes and our lifestyles will not get us very far.

Sustainability is fundamentally, about social and cultural transformation. Key to unlocking this transformation is holistic education that encompasses the Science, Social Science and Humanities.

By Dr Chong Su Li

The writer is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and Humanities, Institute of Self Sustainable Building, Universiti Teknologi Petronas

1,000 turtle eggs seized in Sandakan

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
SANDAKAN: Sabah Marine police on Tuesday foiled an attempt to smuggle 1,000 turtle eggs believed to be for local consumption  during a raid at Mile 3, here.
Sabah Fourth Regional Marine Police Commander ACP Mohamad Pajeri Ali said the seizure was made based on intelligence and surveillance.
“During an inspection at about 3pm, we found a box with black plastic bags containing the smuggled turtle eggs.
“All the 1,000 turtle eggs are worth about RM2,000 and suspected to be smuggled from a neighbouring country before being marketed here,” he said, Tuesday.

However, Pajeri said the boat skipper suspected to be the owner of the turtle eggs jumped into the sea to escape arrest upon realising the arrival of police in the area.

He said all the seizure were taken to the Sandakan Marine Police operation base for documentation process before being hand over to the Wildlife Department here for further action.

The case is being investigated under Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

By: Mardinah Jikur.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/142536/1-000-turtle-eggs-seized-in-sandakan/

Let’s move from 3R to 7R

Monday, October 28th, 2019
Traffic congestion on roads and bridges can be reduced if we practise the ‘7R’ concept. – NSTP/File pic

Notwithstanding the current cooler spell, Malaysia is hotter than ever before, and the trend shows no signs of reversing to the temperatures enjoyed by Malaysians over the last few decades.

This fact was also acknowledged by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his speech at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last month.

He had urged the global community to pay serious attention to combating extreme climate change. He also highlighted the importance of survival initiatives, such as alternative shelter and food production, in case of a calamity.

Indeed, a majority of countries are experiencing the drastic effects of climate change, as evident from UNGA where almost all leaders brought up the issue.

Most climate scientists agree that human activity is the leading cause of global warming, which in turn triggers climate change. Previously, the natural emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) was the most significant factor in global warming as it formed the largest concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere compared with other greenhouse gases (GHG).

However, human activity stemming from industry, energy production, transportation using carbon-based fuels, and the sum of agricultural activities, food production, land-use and forestry now contribute up to 29 per cent (i.e. more than one-fourth) of the total global GHG emissions.

In this regard, the world needs to shift its attention to sustainable resource management and development practices to curb climate issues.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy has taken place in many developed and developing nations, reducing their carbon footprint.

Among the progressive measures has been the increase in facilities for renewable energy, including solar farms, wind turbines, biomass and hydroelectric plants — creating a sustainable “energy mix” ecosystem. In addition, “energy efficiency” and “energy conservation” practices were also introduced.

Energy efficiency requires consumers to invest in equipment that can operate with less energy for the same or more load, while energy conservation requires consumers to reduce the use of electrical appliances.

These measures can save natural resources from depletion, keep the environment free from pollution, and save some money in the long run.

The best environmentally friendly activities include the 3R practice of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. Some might extend this idea up to seven (7R) in a circular flow — rethink, refuse, reduce, repurpose, reuse, recycle and rot.

These ideas are commonly applied to daily products or consumables, but the concept can also be applied to other human activities such as transportation. For instance, first, we should rethink whether or not it is necessary to drive fast and recklessly. Driving fast will consume more fuel, release more carbon and might put other people at risk. As a result, the second step would be to refuse to make it a practice.

Third, we should reduce our driving activity by prioritising what is important or at least make the most out of a single trip by accomplishing multiple tasks. Additionally, instead of using a car for a single purpose, a car-sharing practice will make better use of its capacity; this can be considered as repurposing or reusing.

This, in turn, will reduce traffic congestion and pollution, while adding value to the car owner. Finally, as the car reaches a certain mileage, we must plan whether to restore, sell or recycle the vehicle.

Ideally, the process of managing resources will form a closed-loop system; this circularity is aimed at eliminating waste and promoting the continual use of resources — a model known as the circular economy. Unlike the traditional linear economy with the “take, make and dispose” approach that lets waste end up in landfills, the circular economy adopts the “regenerative” approach where “all waste should be food for another process”, inspired from the natural system.

It will mainly involve “reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling” processes. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation paper, “Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change”, switching to renewable energy could cut GHG by 55 per cent, and the circular economy could reduce the remaining 45 per cent emissions mainly from the making of products and food production.

In Muslim countries, the concept of the circular economy has been a subject of rigorous discussion especially by those in the Islamic finance circle. Several Islamic concepts in relation to managing resources and the ecology, such as mizan (universal balance), miqdar (proportion), khalifah (stewardship) and maqasid (purposeful use) are supportive of the circular approach.

These Islamic principles can serve as catalysts, among others, to encourage the Muslim community to live in a sustainable system, thus contributing to the efforts to address the climate issue at the global level.

By Dr Shahino Mah Abdullah.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/10/533327/lets-move-3r-7r

Managing flood problems

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
During floods, on top of emergency response, there must also be planning at the pre-disaster stage and recovery process to help flood victims’ regain their quality of life and wellbeing. PIC BY SYAZANA ROSE RAZMAN

IT’S that time of the year again. In October, it rains almost everyday and one can’t help but think of how big the flood is going to be this year.

According to the World Disaster Report (2010), Asia as a whole is most prone to natural disasters.

Flood is the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the country, resulting in chaos in affected areas in terms of disruptions to daily and economic activities, damage to roads and railway tracks, vehicles, properties and even loss of lives.

In addition to natural causes, floods are mainly attributed to continuous heavy rainfall, rapid development, unplanned urbanisation, poor drainage system and environmental degradation.

The December 2014 to January 2015 floods was one of the most devastating ever experienced affecting the whole country including Sabah and Sarawak.

Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang were the hardest hit where floodwaters ravaged 190,000 hectares of oil palm plantations.

Over 200,000 people were evacuated nationwide, killing at least 20 people. The three most severely affected states registered more than half the total number of evacuees and suffered significant economic losses.

Unprecedented damage was caused to highways, hospitals, universities, schools, properties and agriculture products. Shortages of food, electricity, clean water and communication problems continued to affect flood victims.

Several initiatives were taken by the government in dealing with the flood problem.

These include the establishment of the Permanent Flood Control Commission (PFCC), flood disaster relief machinery, river basin studies, structural and non-structural flood mitigation measures, flood forecasting and warning systems, and hydrological and flood data collection stations. The main objective of the PFCC, with the Drainage and Irrigation Department as its secretariat, is to prevent and mitigate floods.

The flood disaster relief machinery under the Natural Disaster Relief Committee (NDRC) with its secretariat at the National Security Council (NSC) of the National Security Division, Prime Minister’s Department, has the main objective of coordinating relief operations in providing financial assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund to disaster victims.

The NDRC was established in 1997 through NSC Directive No. 20 which stipulated the national policy, disaster management and aid mechanism. The NDRC followed a three-tier management hierarchy system chaired by the prime minister at the federal level, secretary of state and district officer at the state and district level, respectively.

Subsequently, in October 2015 the federal government established a special agency, National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), dedicated to disaster risk management and/or other matters related to it.

NADMA is regulated under Directive No. 20 and all matters related to disasters are managed by three-tier committees namely; the Centre for Disaster Management and Relief Committee (CDMRC), chaired by the deputy prime minister at the federal level, the State Disaster Management and Relief Committee (SDMRC), chaired by the secretary of state and the District Disaster Management and Relief Committee, chaired by the District Officer.

It was reported that a total of 68 agencies were involved, consisting    of 27 federal agencies, 22 state and 19 district agencies, in seven service themes of disaster management structure which include search and rescue, health and medical services, media, support, security control, welfare, warnings and alerts.

Under the various five-year Malaysia Plans, the government had spent billions of ringgit on flood control and mitigation measures with substantial increment over the years. Records showed that money spent on these projects increased from RM14 million under the Second Malaysia Plan (1971-1975) which ballooned to an estimated RM17 billion between 2006 and 2020.

This showed the seriousness of the government’s commitment to prevent and reduce flood risks.

Money spent on structural flood mitigation projects alone increased four-fold from RM1.79 billion in the period 2001-2005 to RM5.81 billion in 2006-2010.

Major projects include the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) to alleviate the flash flood problem in the Kuala Lumpur city centre.

Despite all these efforts which cost the government billions of ringgit on flood control, mitigation and disaster management, a number of issues have been raised with regard to the effectiveness of the implementation of flood-related policies.

These include lack of coordination between the large number of agencies involved at the federal, state and district levels, imbalance between top-down and bottom-up in disaster management planning approaches which was heavily skewed to the former.

Others include greater emphasis on emergency response phase rather than preparedness and pre-disaster stage, and lack of planning of long-term recovery process which has affected flood victims’ quality of life and well
being.

Hence the focus of the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) is on strengthening disaster risk management across five phases namely, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. It was reported that the government’s investment in flood mitigation projects is more than RM4 billion beginning with 16 projects at the start of 2018.

An allocation of RM443.9 million and RM150 million was announced in the recent 2020 Budget towards flood mitigation projects and the maintenance of existing flood retention ponds, respectively. The fund should be an impetus for an integrated pro-active planning and a sustainable recovery management.

By Datuk Dr Norma Mansor.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/10/532457/managing-flood-problems

Budget 2020: RM83mil allocation to conserve wildlife population, protect rainforest

Friday, October 11th, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry has received an RM83mil allocation in Budget 2020 to conserve the dwindling wildlife population and protect the nation’s rainforest.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced this during his Budget 2020 speech in Parliament on Friday (Oct 11).

“There are fewer than 200 Malayan tigers left in the wild, and it is estimated there are about 11,000 orangutans in Malaysia,” he said.

“To support the efforts of protecting these endangered animals, the government will allocate RM15mil to the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MyCat) and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and other NGOs,” he said.

He added that another RM48mil will be allocated to preserve the nation’s pristine forest and biodiversity.

Out of this sum, RM10mil will be used as matching grants against private sector contributions towards conservation and biodiversity initiatives like the Central Forest Spine, Heart of Borneo, and rehabilitation of degraded forests.

“To protect our flora and fauna better, RM20mil will be provided to employ more forest rangers among retired soldiers and local Orang Asli communities who know their lands the best,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lim said the government will also finance Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) initiatives with an allocation of a RM10mil matching fund towards a joint Government-United Nations SDG fund.

“In addition, the government will allocate RM5mil to support the convening of Parliamentary Select Committee meetings and also for greater engagement by Members of Parliament with civil society, including to address the Sustainable Development Goals at the local level,” he said.

By MEI MEI CHU

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/11/budget-2020-rm83mil-allocation-to-conserve-wildlife-population-protect-rainforest

Investing in a clean environment is good for business

Monday, October 7th, 2019

BUDGET 2020 will be tabled on Friday and will contain the usual spending plans for the various ministries and social programmes in the country for next year.

The annual exercise will be scrutinised for how those plans will lay the foundation for Malaysia in the immediate term.

Initial suggestions point to how the government will likely prioritise spending to drive economic growth as that, together with ensuring a trade surplus, are bedrocks in assuring economic and political stability in the country.

The myriad of spending plans, focusing on the underprivileged, will show the compassionate side of the administration but one aspect of how the Budget needs to be moulded is to drive economic growth higher.

The benchmark FBM KLCI has only been up one year over the past few years and that together with other flashing warning signals have been prevalent in recent times.

With domestic investments flagging, housing in a slump and job creation remaining an issue, measures should be proposed to put more cash in the pockets of Malaysians and to encourage spending.

The risk is the gross domestic products (GDP) growth might still be stuck in the four-percentage point range and for Malaysia, that is not good enough.

The government must lift the lid on the economy and if that means slowing down the planned decline in the fiscal deficit, then so be it.

The US-China trade war has roiled the global economy and international trade, and the government must capitalise on this rare event.

We cannot afford to remain complacent while neighbouring countries welcome global investments and we adopt a more protectionist stance in dealing with regional or global trade.

Over recent months, Malaysians have also seen how environmental degradation has affected our daily lives.

Everything from the contamination disaster in Pasir Gudang, Johor, to the fires in Riau, Sumatra, that choked much of Malaysia in a cloud of haze and that has been a lingering farce for around two decades, signals that it is time for the government to act in aid of the environment.

Yes, bans and limitations on single-use plastic is a step in the right direction.

Images of and news on how sea animals have borne the brunt of our environmental disregard have tugged the strings of compassion.

Climate strikes organised by the youth of the world show the anxiety of the generation that will inherit the planet.

For our part, there need to be more legislative and budgetary allocations to ensure that Malaysia starts moving towards environmental best practices.

Budgetary allocations towards the environment need to be done in consultation with the states of Malaysia, as land and most natural resources are matters of the states.

Money should be allocated towards ensuring our rivers are clean, our forests are maintained and the air that we breathe is free from the toxins that have polluted much of the country.

States should be allowed more development funds only if they offer guarantees that forests that cover about half of Malaysia would not be felled in the name of development and that waters are kept clean.

We can blame the West for doing in the past just what they are asking us not to do now but it is also time for us not to make the mistakes of the developed West and learn from what they are doing to ensure a sustainable Earth and environment for the future of our children.

Furthermore, with the world paying more attention to environmental best practises, doing so is actually good for business.

It is clear how developed countries are using our lax environmental practices against us, and we should acknowledge that spending on keeping the environment clean and sustainable is actually not only good for future business but also that for the future of Malaysia.

By The Star Says
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/the-star-says/2019/10/06/investing-in-a-clean-environment-is-good-for-business#8sDL4PK8LJcRVP48.99

Do more to curb poaching

Sunday, October 6th, 2019
Sabah Wildlife Department’s Rescue Team officers were despatched to conduct investigations following the discovery of the carcass of a male Borneo pygmy elephant found at Sungai Udin riverbank on Sept 25. NSTP/COURTESY OF SABAH WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT.

MANY animals are going to be extinct if drastic steps are not taken to address the rampant poaching in the country.

Killing and poaching are also part of wildlife trafficking in countries with high biodiversity like Malaysia.

The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has estimated the global wildlife trafficking industry to be worth between US$7 billion and US$23 billion annually (RM28 billion and RM92 billion).

It is unfortunate that a 2016 report by the Wildlife Justice Commission revealed that Kuala Lumpur is the easiest port to illegally transport wildlife.

The report revealed that it costs 50 per cent less to move contraband through Kuala Lumpur International Airport and klia2, compared with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

On Sept 25, it was reported that as many as a dozen Malaysian police officers were involved in syndicates smuggling pangolins across the Malaysia-Thailand border.

The report triggered an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

There is an urgent need to review all existing laws, especially legislation pertaining to animal poaching. The government should expedite its plan to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 to jail poachers for more than 10 years and fine them up to RM5 million.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has made a clarion call that without serious action, the critically small population of wildlife such as the Bornean pygmy elephant may suffer the same fate as the Sumatran rhino.

Despite harsher punishments and improved wildlife enforcement under the new act, poaching continues to increase.

SAM believes that this is because of the absence of arrests of the masterminds.

The government should also prosecute those abetting the culprits.

We must take into account the police’s recommendation of mandatory whipping for criminals involved in wildlife smuggling,and tighten conditions for the issuance of firearms licences and hunting permits.

The government should strengthen collaboration among the enforcement agencies, including increasing the number of military or police personnel, especially in our forest reserves.

Greater public awareness, better law enforcement and political will are needed to not only prevent poaching and illegal wildlife trade, but also to avoid over-exploitation of natural resources.

Protecting wildlife and our nature’s treasure trove not only involves enforcement agencies but requires collaboration across the board.

Efforts to protect our wildlife are also in line with the theme for this year’s Earth Day celebration which is ‘Protect Our Species’.

By TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/10/527160/do-more-curb-poaching