In the Thanksgiving rush, I forgot to post this letter. It is the Malaysian Environmental Ministry’s response to letters written to the New Straits Times newspaper after the paper ran a series of stories and letters on The Lizard King. To summarize events so far, the NST profiled me and the book; the Malaysian Wildlife Department “Perhilitan” called my book complete fiction (and other bad words); conservationists objected to Perhilitan’s defensive response to The Lizard King and called for a corruption investigation of Perhilitan. At points along the way the Ministry overseeing Perhilitan, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, also wrote letters to the NST and to other newspapers. In some cases the Ministry promised to do more, in other cases it said it was doing more than enough. Below is the Ministry’s response to two letters criticizing the Ministry for not doing enough on corruption and wildlife crime. I’ll let you judge the Secretary General’s letter yourself. It is worth noting that Anson Wong admitted in U.S. court to a decade of smuggling protected wildlife to the United States…
To The Editor
New Straits Times, 2008/11/24
By AMERJIT SINGH for Secretary-General Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, Putrajaya
I REFER to the letters by E.L. of Petaling Jaya and Tan Yok Koon of Puchong (“Don’t skirt the central issue” and “Disheartening” — NST, Oct 24) on the issue of the export of illegally obtained wildlife. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has always addressed corruption issues seriously, especially when it concerns its officials.
In the case of Anson Wong, the wildlife dealer from Penang, Perhilitan had monitored his import/export activities closely since 1985 in ensuring that he abided by domestic laws and procedures.