KOTA KINABALU: Standardizing the law on illegal animal trafficking between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam is one of the issues that will be discussed at the Heart of Borneo Network Initiative’s “wildlife trade regulations” course which will be held here from December 14 to 16.
Representatives from the three countries on the island of Borneo are attending the course, said Assistant Minster of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Ellron Alfred Angin.
According to him, there is a need for the participants to exchange knowledge about the law in their respective countries pertaining to illegal animal trafficking as the legislation differs from region to region.
“Hopefully we can standardize the law as a deterrent measure in order to stop the illegal trafficking of wildlife,” he said, adding that those involved in the illegal business have found loopholes in the different laws and thus avoid stiffer penalties if they are caught.
Ellron said in the case of Malaysia, Sabah in particular, it is a mandatory jail sentence of not less that one year and maximum five years for anyone found guilty of illegal animal trafficking.
“But in other countries, the law is not so strict so these poachers will bring the animals for trading in there and if they are caught, they need only to pay a fine unlike in Malaysia where they will have to go to jail,” he stressed.
“That is why we hope for a standardized law between the countries on the island of Borneo as a stiffer penalty could the illegal animal trade,” he told reporters after officiating at the course.
According to him, as far as the Malaysian Government is concerned, it wants to see a deterrent penalty because the Government regards illegal animal trafficking as a serious offence.
Meanwhile, Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu said that the participants would also be exchanging intelligence about the illegal animal trade in their respective countries.
Through the intelligence network, the Malaysian government will be able to find out just how rampant are the cases of illegal animal trafficking in Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam as well as when is “hunting season” in the two countries.