Where’s the Beef, Dr. Singh?

For a window on why Malaysia ranks among the world’s leading wildlife trafficking hubs one may read this letter today by Amerjit Singh spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment published in The Star .  Dr. Singh’s letter comes in response to last week’s Star article on my Academy of Sciences Malaysia talk (“Malaysia a Hub for Wildlife Smuggling“).  Everyone familiar with the illegal wildlife trade knows that certain officials in Malaysia have stalled updating the wildlife law Dr. Amerjit Singh refers to, giving bureaucrats like him the chance to agree there is a problem, say they are doing something about it, and then sit back and watch as illegal wildlife continues to flow through Malaysia. 

Readers of this blog know that Amerjit Singh has issued several defenses like this one in the past few months.  Here he demonstrates he doesn’t have any idea what the problem is (he thinks it is only protection of local species in Peninsular Malaysia).  Worse, his simplistic responses without any meaningful action insult the Malaysian people.  Here’s today’s:

The Star
January 29, 2009

Beefing up efforts to protect wildlife

I REFER to “Malaysia A Hub For Wildlife Smuggling” (The Star, Jan 19).
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) agrees that smuggling activities are a threat to the conservation of our wildlife and it acts sternly to curb any attempts.
The DWNP together with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (NRE) are in the midst of amending the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 (Act 76), to focus more on the protection, conservation and management of the local species within Peninsular Malaysia.
Consideration will be given to the recommendations and suggestions from the public and NGOs in dialogues and workshops conducted by the DWNP or through written submissions.
The DWNP sincerely encourages the writer, NGOs and the public, to inform us without hesitation of any misdeeds pertaining to wildlife to help us in our endeavour to safeguard our biodiversity.
The DWNP’s contact list can be downloaded at www.wildlife.gov.my.
 
Dr AMERJIT SINGH,
Head of Public Relations,
Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.
 

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