Tuesday January 29, 2008 - The Star, Malaysia
New wildlife law from March
KUALA LUMPUR: The Indian star tortoise is an endangered species but it can be brought into Malaysia without a permit because there are no laws to prevent this.
However, that will change in March when the animal is listed as a protected species in the country and the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2007 (Flora and Fauna) is enforced.
"The new law makes our work easier," said Natural Resources and Environment Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Sazmi Miah at the Second Asean Wildlife Enforcement Network Workshop on Task Force and Working Groups Development here yesterday.
The penalties under the law would be tough, with a jail term of up to five years or a fine of up to RM100,000.
The Indian star tortoise is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which allows for trade but is regulated by a permit system. Malaysia is a signatory of CITES.
However, it is not in the protected species list under the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972.
With the new law, authorities would also be able to take action against illegal traders who smuggle out Malaysia's wild flora and fauna or bring in such items, or re-export them.
"The Act deals with transborder cases while domestic cases are charged under the Protection of Wildlife Act," said Sazmi.
The International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2007 (Flora and Fauna) was passed in Parliament last month.
To enforce the law and fight against trafficking of wildlife species, enforcement officers would be stationed at 17 official points of entry in the country, said Sazmi.
"They will be trained and equipped with the necessary information," he said, at the two-day workshop which began yesterday.
"We have been lagging in establishing this law but now we have done it," he said.