Posts Tagged ‘Amerjit Singh’

Where’s the Beef, Dr. Singh?

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

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
Head of Public Relations,
Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

Ministry of Ouroboros

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

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.


Malaysian Government “Does Acknowledge” Wildlife Crime Law is Inadequate

Friday, November 28th, 2008

The Lizard King has gotten good attention in Malaysia, including two-pages of coverage in a single issue of the New-Straits Times, and similar multi-story coverage in The Star and the Malay Mail (see the blog archive posts).  All three newspapers have published letters to the editor in response to their news stories and I am told there has never been so much coverage of wildlife trafficking in such a short period of time in Peninsular Malaysia before.  Publicity is one thing, change is another…

On November 11, the Malay Mail published a profile of me entitled “Wildlife Trade Flourishes in Fortress Malaysia:  weak enforcement laws attract smugglers.”  Yesterday, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment issued this letter promising legislative reform

To the Editor
November 27, 2008      Malay Mail
Based on the input provided by Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan), the government does acknowledge that the existing legislation, Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 (Act 76), is inadequate in combating wildlife crime especially the poaching and smuggling of wildlife in large quantities. The department through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) is formulating a new legislation with strengthened provisions on penalties to combat and deter such wildlife crimes.