One dead tiger, one month jail
On February 7 2013, a wildlife trafficker linked to Malaysia’s largest ever seizure of tiger parts was finally sentenced after a year-long trial. The day after, the world also learnt just what little value Malaysia places on the loss of an endangered species. Mohd Nor Shahrizam, caught red-handed with eight tiger skins, 22 whole tiger skulls and bones, and nine African elephant tusks, was handed down a sentence of 60 months, of which he will serve only 24, because his sentences will run concurrently. So it’s 24 months, for 22 tigers. A little over a month in prison for each tiger that Malaysia has lost forever. It's a featherweight sentence by any calculation, but one that delivered disappointment like the blow of a sledgehammer to all those in enforcement and conservation who have toiled to keep this species from the brink.
Just 500 tigers left in the wild and four per cent gone with a single seizure, and we still fail to treat the crime with the severity it deserves. There are no more of the tired, old excuses to hide behind either. The law that was once weak is now among the strongest in the region and with that, the failures of the past should not haunt tigers any longer. Failures like the 2007 case of a Kelantanese man fined a measly RM7,000 for possession of a quartered tiger and the acquittal of four Perak men last year, who reportedly admitted to killing a tiger in 2010. Yet here we are again.
One much-improved clause under the Wildlife Conservation Act (WCA) 2010, which involves the keeping of tigers or their parts, carries a minimum fine of RM100,000 and mandatory imprisonment – not one or the other. Yet Mohd Nor Shahrizam, found guilty on two charges under this clause, was not fined. Not even the minimum RM200,000 he should have been slapped with in this case. The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) calls for the mandatory fines to be imposed. If this is any indication of how the much-lauded Green Court will impact conservation – no one can blame us for being sceptical.
MYCAT wants to see authorities dig deeper and look further into the case. Where do mid-level traders like Mohd Nor Shahrizam fit within the vast criminal network that traffics wild tigers? Where did the tigers come from, who procured them, and where were they headed? Wildlife crime is organised crime. Those behind it operate with impunity because it is usually the front-runners or middlemen that get caught, rarely the kingpins. Will Malaysia ever join the ranks of countries like India, Nepal, and Indonesia, who have taken down some of their countries’ biggest wildlife smuggling rings?
Finally, MYCAT wants to see the country take this matter far more seriously than it does now and fight a lot harder to ensure protection and justice for the final 500, if not for any love of its iconic wildlife, then at least for its own global image. In the case of the 14 dead Pygmy Elephants in Sabah, Malaysia invited international condemnation for its failure to protect the rare animals – 5,000 websites with stories slamming the country, and counting. Malaysia does not have as many wild tigers, and if it continues to treat the few left as badly as the 22 in this case, it will have no one to blame for the fury that is bound to come its way.
We are always proud of our labels. And if we are not careful, Malaysia’s proud label of being one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world will be relabelled to ‘a formerly great forested land with mighty iconic animals’ or ‘an industrial agriculture landscape with fragmented and empty forests’.
For further information, please contact:
Wong Pui May, Coordinator, MYCAT Secretariat’s Office
Tel: 03.7880.3940 (O), 017.682.1006 (M); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the facts, how Malays react to them is up to them. There are times when the truth has to be said even if it offends people.
1. The trade in tiger parts is fuelled by some groups of Chinese Malays and mainland Chinese, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Middlemen Malays whom poach tigers at times are not Chinese but working for the Chinese, they are tempted by huge cash offers. The estimate of 500 wild tigers left in the Malay jungles is excessive, it is much less. Other countries have busted animal smuggling groups targeting Tigers, therefore Malaysia is seen by mainland Chinese ( and Chinese Malays ) as an easy target. One month in jail per killed Tiger, seems to confirm this belief.
2. The Malaysian tiger will become extinct in the wilds.
3. FACT = Chinese claims for the use of Tiger parts in medicines etc are totally fake and all based upon simple minded superstition.
4. FACT. It is not only the Malay tiger whi**** being poached, the list of wildlife being poached and channeled out to Chinese black market restaurants from the dwindling Malay jungles is shocking. These animals are eaten again due to simple minded cultural untrue beliefs regarding health benefits.
5. FACT. Drive any highway out of Kuala Lumpur and try to count how many illegal red earth road tracks you can count snaking into what are meant to be protected forest areas. Loggers are litrally going into the heart of forest and removing the trees and leaving an outer screen of trees as a pretence. Respect must be given to the Malaysian government who certainly do not agree oir allow such logging activities. But it has to be asked? What are the local police doing because they certainly cannot fail to notice what is happening? How many wild species are decimated through these illegal logging activities? look at Borneo, the landscape is being systimatically raped and counting how many wild species are being wiped out is proving impossible. Penang is now an island with some surviving forest but deviod of wild life.
6. Some say Malaysia will lose its fantastic jungles and become an agricultural landscape criss crossed with oil palm trees. However this is not true, to destroy the complex eco system will cancel out even agriculture, pestilance, destruction of the landscape, nature led distaters and poverty will take hold. Destory the complex eco system and the final result will be a dust bowl. Every fish in a stream or river, every bird, every animal, every insect, every reptile all play a part in an intricate interlinked bio system, kill them off and the final result is a desolate none productive landscape on a one way path of deteriation.
7. Malaysia stands at a crossroads, it is not too late to stop this destruction but the clock is ticking very fast. Current evidence such as the recent court case which produced one months jail per killed tiger, suggest Malaysia is destined to lose out.
It might be time to drop the advertising that is beamed around Asia saying " Malaysia truly Asia". OR- make a stand, show the world that Malaysia can be a leading light in Asia.
More photos from News
- BN mulls ideas to regain trust after popular vote loss
- Press statement: Say No to Racial Politics
- Dr. M: DAP swayed Malays to view BN as corrupt
- GE13 an urban, not Chinese swing, say analysts
- MCA President will not defend seat in party poll this year
- Anwar will continue as opposition leader in parliament - Kit Siang
- GE13: New Menteri Besar for Kelantan
- Malaysia PM faces limited future after worst electoral showing
- GE13: Continued voter support for women candidates
- GE13: Triumphant BN seen losing popular vote
- Greece enters sixth year of recession
- 'Gap' for HIV vaccine efforts after latest setback
- Man United's Fergie to make last stand on final day
- Oxbow wins Preakness to spoil Orb's treble bid
- Racing: Oxbow wins Preakness to spoil Orb's treble bid
- Oxbow wins 138th Preakness Stakes
- Denmark wins Eurovision Song Contest
- Pakistan politician from Khan party gunned down
- Gunmen kill Khan party woman politician in Pakistan
- Lotto fever strikes US as jackpot swells
- Thousands join anti-austerity march in Rome
- Assad insists he will not quit, car bomb hits Damascus
- Damascus car bomb kills at least three: state TV
- Damascus car bomb kills three, wounds five: state TV
- Tearful Beckham bids farewell to Paris and career