KOTA KINABALU, Jan 15 — Seven wildlife offenders have been arrested in the first 15 days of this year through joint operations mounted by General Operation Force, the Sabah Forestry Department and Sabah Wildlife Department, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew disclosed.
She said while the success was extremely encouraging, the questions about the offenders’ partners, their networks and resources to perpetrate these crimes need to be answered.
Liew, who is also Sabah minister of tourism, culture and environment, said wildlife-related crimes are not just a local problem but often part of an international wildlife trade syndicate associated with drug and human trafficking, as well as money laundering.
“We must continue the synergy. By working together with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), private sector and government agencies, as well as having cross-border cooperation, we will truly succeed in ending these senseless crimes.
“I am certain that in Sabah we have very capable, dedicated and passionate people that are working endlessly on increasing our intelligence and forensic capabilities to curb wildlife crimes.”
Liew said this in her speech at the opening of the Workshop on Illegal Wildlife Trade and Counteracting Measures in Sabah, here today, which was also attended by United States Embassy in Malaysia Deputy Chief of Mission Dean Thompson.
Liew’s speech text was read out by the Permanent Secretary of Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Jamili Nais.
Meanwhile, according to Thompson, the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement is funding various programmes to confront and combat wildlife crimes.
He said the workshop, for one, marked the beginning of a two-year programme with RM4 million funding in partnership with the Danau Girang Field Centre and Sabah Wildlife Department.
“It is hoped to boost Sabah’s wildlife enforcement capacity and expertise in wildlife forensic investigations and encourage inter-agency coordination amongst the law enforcement and the NGO communities,” he added. — Bernama