Officers in Cahoots to be Weeded Out

Malaysia’s national newspaper  The Star ran an interview of me today, along with news that the Ministry of Environment has announced a complete overhaul of Malaysia’s Wildlife Department, declaring that “Officers in Cahoots with Illegal Traders to be Weeded Out.”  It will be very easy to see whether an overhaul indeed takes place… There is more than one way to be in “cahoots.”  [The media likes to focus on corruption, but failure to act, or to see a problem, is just as damaging to wildlife, as the comments to this post indicate.]

One other thing.  I did not actually say Anson “should have been given a tougher sentence.”  I said:  When two women from Madagascar were caught with tortoises in their luggage, they each got a year under the same law—twice Wong’s sentence.  Given Wong’s knowledge of the law, his history as a wildlife dealer, and as a wildlife smuggler, a judge could well have given him a much tougher sentence.  I didn’t say I thought he should get more time.  The truth is, Wong was prosecuted only for smuggling boa constrictors, a fairly common snake to go to prison for.  He might have been prosecuted for much more.  Still, given what he has done to wildlife during his lifetime, it is hard to pity him whatever he gets.


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2 Responses to “Officers in Cahoots to be Weeded Out”

  1. Azrina Abdullah Says:

    The minister says ‘if you study carefully, Malaysia is not a hub’. I wonder where he’s getting his facts from because I’d love to see that report with stats saying that Malaysia is not a hub…with the condition that the report was not prepared by PERHILITAN.

    As for identifying poachers hotspots and outlets, why is this still new to the Ministry and Department? Intelligence has been shared with them over so many years, including Anson’s activities, and its only now he’s saying that the department will identify the bad guys? What has PERHILITAN been doing since it was set up? It explains a lot about the department’s indifference towards saving wildlife.

    And again, he mentions that internal audit committee. How much of a role will the NGO and experts play in this committee? Will it be merely advisory? How will the ‘experts’ be selected? They should also have other enforcement agencies in that committee to discuss about the role of other agencies, i.e. Customs, Anti-Smuggling Unit, so that cases can be dealt by those respective agencies and not rely on PERHILITAN to prosecute.

  2. Bryan Christy Says:

    Oops. Azrina Abdullah is absolutely correct in her comment. I completely missed that buried in the “Revamp Story” Minister Uggah says, “if you study carefully, Malaysia is not a hub.”

    You simply cannot examine Malaysia’s history over the past 20 years and deny it is a wildlife trafficking hub country. In fact, it is because leaders deny its hub status that wildlife traffickers flourish.

    As a government official, you do not have to be on someone’s payroll to be in cahoots with them. You only need to deny the truth.

    Denying that there are wildlife criminals operating in Malaysia is the number one cause of wildlife trafficking in the country.

    I predict Minister Uggah will make no material changes to Perhilitan. Why should he? He doesn’t see a problem at all.