Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is enraged and highly perturbed to learn of the light sentences meted out over the country's biggest seizure of illegally trafficked tiger.
The court’s ruling concerning wildlife can have wide reaching impacts for the precedent it sets will not be a deterrent to others as this could lead to additional killing of other endangered wildlife which the Act is intended to protect.
Judges and prosecutors should realise that even with increased enforcement capability, poachers will not be deterred unless the courts hand down appropriately severe penalties that are proportional to the severity of the crime committed.
A dead tiger can never be replaced and it is a great loss to a species whose number has plummeted to less than 500. The issue of wildlife crime must be taken seriously and wildlife law must be aggressively used to protect endangered species and ecosystems.
The Wildlife administration has reflected the seriousness of poaching and hunting in increased penalties and it is now up to the judiciary to reflect this in sentences. It is imperative that judicial officers and legal team be endowed with an in-depth knowledge of the Wildlife Conservation Act and other conservation laws so as to be able to use these laws to protect endangered species and the ecosystems they live in.
The court should help ensure ecological security for continuous survival of endangered species and exercise decisions to ensure that wildlife survive the bumpy roads ahead.
It is the onus of the government to take the issue of wildlife crime seriously and work towards bringing criminals to justice.
In view of the gruesome crime committed SAM urges the Deputy Public Prosecutor for a review of the case as the course of justice should not be seen to be in favour of wildlife crime perpetrators.
The establishment of an environmental court is long overdue considering that environmental crime is a serious problem. At least the judges will have a better understanding of the environment and meted out sentences in favour of the environment. Only stronger punitive measures by the court would deter would be offenders.
Media Statement - 5 March 2013