Sunday, April 15, 2012

We are frustrated too...

An interesting email by a frustrated CEO of Nature Alert. We are frustrated too. The gaharu issue in Penang is never ending. We just stumble upon a gaharu camp few days ago in the catchment area of upper Botanic Gardens, Penang. We decided not to report. We have lost hope of any action to be taken even if we have reported. This time it is in the Penang Water authority's jurisdiction. The last time when we reported the issue in Bkt Mertajam in Jan 2009, more trees were cut when visited the area again within 2 weeks. This is how fast they would act if they make a gain. So, by not reporting, at least the illegals will be doing it with caution. Yes, when they saw us, they cabut. If you report, trees will be chopped anyway. The authority won't get any buta kopi and our forest continues to be poached but at least we are not making some people richer. Picture of the gaharu camp taken on 11 Apr 2012.

Will Perhilitan ever turn over a new leaf?
April 12, 2012

FMT LETTER, From Sean Whyte, via e-mail

During the past twelve months we have filed over 30 illustrated reports with the NRE and Perhilitan, detailing illegal wildlife trading and cruelty to animals in zoos. Most remain uninvestigated.

The good news is, in some of the worst cases Perhilitan has acted against zoos such as Johor and Saleng by confiscating animals and in the case of Saleng closing down the zoo – not before time.

None of which would have happened without massive public pressure being exerted on Perhilitan. Mind you, Perhilitan still show great affection and leniency towards A’famosa, the golf resort-cum-zoo which, inflicted over a period of some 12 months some of the worst cruelty on orangutans we have ever seen.

The bad news is, Perhilitan rarely prosecutes anyone for anything. We have first-hand reports of offenders paying regional Perhilitan officers not to prosecute them, but back at head office no one wants to know.

We see and report on protected species of wildlife openly on sale in pet shops. Perhilitan does nothing.

We report such issues directly to minister Douglas Embas and as far as we know and all the evidence suggests, he does nothing about them either.

We even report the NRE and Perhilitan to MACC. They make promises on which they never, ever, deliver. So much for an anti-corruption office.

Despite repeated requests from a myriad of NGO’s, the minister, NRE and Perhilitan all still refuse to answer probing but entirely legitimate questions over their handling of the case against Anson Wong. Rightly or wrongly, but it’s hard to imagine any other motive, their silence implies they have something they want to hide. They appear to think by saying nothing, their critics will go away; they could not be more wrong.

Prime Minister Najib is aware of all this but chooses to turn both a blind eye and a deaf ear to it.

Nowadays we copy all our reports concerning illegal wildlife on sale in Malaysia, to Interpol, the international police agency. It’s only a question of time before whoever in Malaysian government is protecting Anson Wong and his cohorts, feels the long arm of the law when he or she travels through another country. That day can’t come soon enough.

Sean Whyte is the CEO of Nature Alert

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