Posts Tagged ‘Misliah Mohamad Bashir’

Malaysia’s Wildlife Department Incompetent?

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

As the following column outlines, Malaysia’s Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) has missed yet another chance to address trafficking.  Of course, the word “miss” suggests failure to investigate was an accident.  It wasn’t.  Perhilitan leadership has consistently chosen not to investigate any major wildlife trafficker, including Anson. 

A golden chance lost

Posted on 15 August 2011 – 12:43am Azrina Abdullah 

WHAT can I say about our Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan)? I like to consider myself an optimist but statements made more than a month ago by a convicted wildlife courier demonstrate yet again the department’s apathy and lack of common investigative sense. After winning much praise for the closure of Saleng Zoo in June, Perhilitan shot itself in the foot.

A Malagasy woman, Sarah, who was convicted of smuggling tortoises from Madagascar into Malaysia last year, claimed that Anson Wong, an international wildlife smuggler serving a five-year term in Kajang prison, paid her to smuggle those critters.

At the news conference held in June there was mention of an officer in blue uniform who took around 20 of the seized tortoises and placed them in his desk drawer in KLIA before handing the rest over as evidence.

A number of NGOs also asked why Perhilitan never attempted to meet the Malagasy woman to investigate her contacts in Malaysia. An interview with her could have possibly exposed other illegal traders in the country.

Now Sarah has returned to Madagascar and a golden opportunity has slipped by.

Sarah and another Malagasy woman were the first to be convicted under the International Trade of Endangered Species Act 2008. You would think Perhilitan would be interested in who the two women were working for, who paid for their travels and who their buyer was.

The list of questions that can be asked is mind boggling but the department did nothing. To make matters worse, the press conference made the front page of a national newspaper in Madagascar, giving yet another black eye to Malaysia’s face.

Too much has been said about what the department should and could be doing but the priority now is the effectiveness of its top management. They should either buck up or be replaced. The department needs a leader that can instil confidence in the public on the department’s commitment to reduce the illegal trade in wildlife and work towards making Malaysia an exemplary country for the right reasons.

Hoping that the story will go away is not an option. Lip service seems to be the norm and the director-general and minister appear to do a lot of the talking and not so much of the walking. There will be reminders time and time again to Perhilitan on what action they have taken on the information revealed by Sarah. Please spare us the run-of-the-mill response which sounds like a broken record – “action will be taken and investigations are underway”. The concerned public deserve better.

Azrina Abdullah was regional director of Traffic, an NGO which monitors the global wildlife trade. Comments:

The Lizard King Inspires Corruption Probe Demand

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Today, a group of Malaysian wildlife organizations and two parliament MPs filed a complaint with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) calling for investigation into “irregularities” in the enforcement of wildlife trade in Malaysia.   It is interesting that Anson Wong should admit in US Court (and more recently to The Star) that he committed the years of massive scale illegal trafficking of which he was accused and yet the official in charge of Perhilitan Penang during this same period should deny any responsibility and subsequently be promoted to Perhilitan’s national office.

Here is the press release from SPCA Malaysia followed by press coverage: 


Wildlife Groups File Corruption Complaint

Holding THE LIZARD KING, Wildlife Groups File Corruption Complaint

Illegal Wildlife Trade : Report Lodged With MACC

“Malaysia has been on the world radar screen for the wrong reasons and sadly, it has even extended to the animal kingdom. Closely following the most lucrative illegal global business of drug dealing and trafficking, is the multi-billion ringgit illegal global business of dealing and trafficking in endangered species, in part or in whole, for medicines, food, pleasure and exhibition. Anson Wong, a Malaysian and a convicted felon by the US Courts for trafficking and dealing in endangered wildlife , was featured on the front pages of various press media. The articles highlighted the illegal activities perpetuated by him and his enablers for handsome profits – sometimes right under the noses of the Enforcement department. Anson Wong was also featured as the “Pablo Escobar” in Bryan Christy’s notable book, The Lizard King, that highlights the true stories and intrigue behind this illegal lucrative trade spanning the globe.
“SPCA Selangor together with Animal Rights Groups, ROAR, MAW and Petpositive and MPs of Teluk Intan and Kapar lodged a complaint with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today at their office in Rumah Perseketuan citing irregularities in the enforcement of this illegal trade. SPCA Selangor urges the MACC to investigate these illegal activities that bring immense cruelty, suffering and misery to the wildlife of Malaysia and the world. The mortality rate is high during transportation as the poor animals are stuffed in envelopes, socks, suitcases, plastic tubes and other tight spaces to avoid detection. Animals that survive face further pain and misery as they are sold for consumption, kept in zoos, or sold as exotic pets. This is a rape of our God-given heritage, an exploitation of the voiceless to satify greed. Malaysians are becoming more aware of such felonies and also more appreciative of better animal welfare.
“At the Press Conference, Animals Rights Groups, SPCA Selangor and the 2 MPS urged the government to embark on a Royal Commission of Inquiry to unearth the truth and mete out the punishment for violators of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, while improving enforcement to eliminate the cruelty clearly inherent in this business.”   

The Star

August 15, 2009

Deputy D-G: Someone had to take care of Wong’s animals


KUALA LUMPUR: Special permits issued by Perhilitan to Anson Wong when he was in jail were actually renewals of existing permits that had been given to the convicted wildlife trafficker.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) deputy director-general Misliah Mohamad Bashir explained that the renewals were approved because “someone had to take care of (Wong’s) animals” while he served time in a US jail between 2001 and 2004.

The application for renewal of the permits to keep totally protected species was made by a local representative of Wong, said Misliah in response to calls by a group of animal rights activists and two MPs for an investigation into alleged corrupt practices within Perhilitan.

They filed reports with the the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday, urging the MACC to probe allegations of Perhilitan’s link with Wong made by author Bryan Christy in his book The Lizard King.

The book details Wong’s exploits in the 1990s prior to his arrest by the US wildlife authorities in 1998.

Misliah denied any involvement in the issuance of special permits to Wong, as such permits could only be issued by the Perhilitan director-general and she was state Perhilitan director in Penang at that time.

The complainants are animals rights groups Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruetly against Animals, Malaysian Animal Welfare Society (MAW), Malaysian Animal Rights Society (ROAR) and Pet Positive. The MPs are S. Manikavasagam (Kapar) and M. Manogaran (Teluk Intan).

They also urged the Government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the matter.

Following Monday’s Starprobe exposé on Malaysia as a wildlife trafficking hub, the animal rights group said Perhilitan’s action in renewing Wong’s special permits was questionable.

Lawyer and ROAR president R. Surendran said Wong’s special permits covered among others two cougars which were later declared to have died.

“Did Misliah check whether those animals were dead? Or could they have been smuggled out?” he asked.

Misliah, when asked whether she had seen the carcasses, said she had relied on her staff to “check and report back to her.”

On Wong’s tigers, she said he had a special permit to keep two female tigers that he acquired from Japan and the cats had mated with tigers owned by Sunway Lagoon theme park in Selangor.



August 14, 2009 21:31 PM

Department Denies Giving Permit To Illegal Wildlife Trader

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) — The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has refuted claims that it had accepted bribes and approved special permits to illegal wildlife trader Anson Wong Keng Liang to carry out his activities in the country.

Deputy Director-General Misliah Mohamad Basir said the special permit issued to Wong in 1999 was to allow him to keep legally-acquired animals in his mini zoo in Bukit Jambul, Penang.

The permit was for keeping eight crocodiles, two “felis concolor” cougars and a Cuban ground iguana which he bought overseas using legal documents, she said.

“The permit was for him to keep the animals in his sanctuary and not to export or trade them,” he told Bernama.

She said that the allegation connecting her and the department with corrupt practices was “a serious and a very bad allegation.”

She was commenting on reports lodged by several non-government organisations to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, claiming that special permits were issued to Wong to carry out his activities here when she was the Penang Perhilitan director.

Misliah said she was surprised over the attempts to connect her with the permits as the permits were signed by the then Perhilitan Director-General Datuk Musa Nordin.

“I would like to stress that the issuance of the permit was not wrong as he had been keeping the animal for quite sometime. When we were told that he had been arrested in the United States, should we seize the animals which he had obtained legally?” she asked.

She added that the special permits were renewable on a yearly basis so long as the animals were alive.