Thursday, 6 December 2007

New bill vows stiffer action for protected species trade

2007/12/06 - New Straits Times, Malaysia
Dewan Rakyat

New bill vows stiffer action for protected species trade

STIFF penalties and jail terms await persons convicted of trafficking in protected flora and fauna once the International Trade in Endangered Species Bill 2007 is enforced.

Individuals caught for offences under the bill run the risk of being fined between RM100,000 and RM1 million, and corporations, between RM200,000 and RM2 million. Jail sentences for the offences can go up to seven years.

The bill tabled regulates the export, re-export and import of endangered species through permits.A similar arrangement has also been put in place for those breeding protected species or those transporting it. A new authority is being formed to handle matters related to the issuance of permits.

The International Trade in Endangered Species Bill 2007, tabled by Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk S. Sothinathan for its first reading yesterday, was in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora which Malaysia acceded in 1977.

The bill also seeks to make it an offence to produce animals bred in captivity or artificially propagated plants or animals without the approval of the relevant authorities. Whistleblowers or informers would be rewarded for help in connection with detection or seizures involving endangered species, the bill stated.

The bill also proposed that informers be given protection.

The agency to be established to implement provisions in the act would come under the purview of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. It would also serve as the lead scientific authority with regard to the technical and scientific aspects involving endangered species.