Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Sentence for animal poachers too lenient

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