KUCHING: The Dayak community can now heave a sigh of relief after the police clarified that licenses for shotguns, which are part of their culture, will not be revoked.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said the police had shown understanding and reacted promptly to concerns raised by Dayak community on this matter.
“it is a relief for people like me representing the rural constituencies and I must be thankful to PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) for their understanding after we told them what we feel about it.
“I think you can see all throughout Sarawak it is a relief for us,” he said today.
With this in mind, he hoped the Dayak community will continue looking at rifles as their prized heirloom and avoid using it for means which are against the law.
“Look at it as your treasure, protect it. Secondly, use your shotguns for the purpose it is for. Be careful, don’t hunt animals that are listed as totally protected,” he said.
It was reported on Friday that shotguns will not be included in the directive for the revocation of rifle ownership licenses to be implemented in stages by the police.
Sarawak Commissioner of Police Datuk Ramli Din in a statement said the directive was aimed at rifles only.
“Referring to the announcement made by Inspector-General of Police on the revocation of rifle ownership licenses in stages, this directive is only limited to rifles and not other firearms,” said Ramli.
The statement was issued in response to a recent report in The Borneo Post, where Dayak leaders including Masing sought clarification regarding the new directive because the use of shotguns, not rifles, for hunting and protecting farms has been embedded in the Dayaks’culture and lifestyle for generations.
In an interview with Bernama on Wednesday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador was quoted as saying the revocation of rifle licenses was to stop rising cases of wildlife poaching in the country.
“The move was initiated after the weapon (rifle) was identified to be the most popular hunting tool among poachers,” he said, adding there was also fears that such firearms could fall into the hands of militant groups.