Malaysian Royal Customs Steps Up on “Green Baddies”

Heartening news from Malaysia today.  The Royal Malaysian Customs Department is stepping up enforcement on illegal wildlife trade, so-called Green Baddies.  From the New Straits Times:

Datin Seri Teh Halimah Mohd Eusoff receiving the Customs Personality Award from Datuk Seri Najib Razak on behalf of her late husband, former Customs director-general Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Datuk Tak at the 27th World Customs Day yesterday.

Datin Seri Teh Halimah Mohd Eusoff receiving the Customs Personality Award from Datuk Seri Najib Razak on behalf of her late husband, former Customs director-general Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Datuk Tak at the 27th World Customs Day yesterday.

Customs zeroes in on ‘green baddies’

By Marc Lourdes
 2009/02/08

PETALING JAYA: The Customs Department has joined a global initiative to protect the environment, by placing those who smuggle flora, fauna and toxic waste across borders on the top of their hit list. The main threat is poaching endangered and protected animals for the cooking pot, traditional medicine, amulets and decorations.

Another is the international trade in rare types of jungle timber and plants.
“This, if not nipped in the bud, can cause irreversible damage to the ecology and result in the destruction of jungles and wildlife habitats,” said its director-general Datuk Ibrahim Jaapar in his speech at the 27th World Customs Day.
Another major headache is the movement of hazardous materials between countries.

“Recently, the department detected attempts to bring plastic toxic waste into the country.”

The global Customs fraternity, he said, had come up with several multilateral environment agreements to curb these crimes, including the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Together with Interpol and the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Customs Organisation has set up the Green Customs Initiative.

Through training, seminars and workshops on environmental crime, the initiative will teach Customs officers and other border security personnel about the importance of preserving the environment.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said later that the issue of environmental protection was becoming more important.

“The effects of global warming can already be felt. In Kuching, for example, there was 450mm of rain in two days last week. That’s the annual average. And there are many more such examples.”

And if environmental criminals were to be defeated, he said, “we have to be better than them. We have to stay ahead of the game”.

“The role of the Customs is not just the protection of revenue, but also the enhancement of the economy and society.”

Najib said the government was willing to spend a “reasonable” amount on providing the department with more high-tech scanning equipment. But he declined to elaborate as the matter was still in discussion.

He praised the department for recording a revenue of RM28.6 billion last year, a 21 per cent increase compared with the previous year, and added that he was confident the department could surpass its target of RM28 billion for this year.

 

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