Letter to the Editor Cites The Lizard King “Shocking Revelation”

A letter running today in the New Straits Times.

WILDLIFE SMUGGLING: MACC should look into case

S.M. MOHD IDRIS President Sahabat Alam Malaysia

NEWS of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s review of a former wildlife trafficker’s special permits and licences as well as a probe into a high-ranking officer is most welcome.

Action to conduct an investigation is long overdue as investigations should have been initiated at the very beginning with the publication of the book by author Bryan Christie (sic).

It is a shocking revelation of what goes on behind the smuggling scene and the involvement of a Malaysian wildlife smuggler operating under the nose of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Evidence from the book revealed a close nexus between wildlife smugglers and certain government officials.
Such large-scale operations would not have been possible without the smuggler taking advantage of loopholes in wildlife law and without the assistance of someone in authority.

What is mind-boggling is the department’s immediate response in defence of the notorious wildlife smuggler after the book was published and now the latest response from the director-general dismissing the report as a “story from the past”.

With the surfacing of this issue, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is relieved that the ministry had at last taken a serious view of the issuance of special permits which was ignored in the past.

SAM is genuinely concerned over the increasing number of endangered and totally protected animals that are found in theme parks, resorts and those kept by private individuals under “special permits”.

The Bengal tigers kept previously at the Bukit Jambul Hibiscus farm is an example. These have drawn considerable attention in the past and it is of utmost importance to know where these tigers originated from and whether they were legally sourced.

The ministry and the department are not a business corporation servicing those exploiting our wildlife resources; rather their mandate is to protect endangered and threatened species.

SAM urges the ministry to conduct an in-depth investigation of the wildlife official implicated in the case. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should also probe into the findings as revealed in the book.

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