'Malaysian wildlife authorities remain in the dark ages'

'Malaysian wildlife authorities remain in the dark ages'
At last we have someone in Malaysia with firsthand knowledge of Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and a wealth of experience in animal welfare, actually joining in the condemnation of how Malaysia’s wildlife is being grossly mismanaged by Perhilitan.

The former Director-General goes even further, telling us, with a few notable exceptions, Malaysian conservation/NGO groups are at best ineffective, worse they are mere pawns of Perhilitan and afraid to come to the defence of animals both in the wild and captivity.

Within Malaysia I only ever see Sahabat Alam Malaysia(SAM), Malaysian Friends of the Animals and Friends of the Orangutans actually challenging Perhilitan to be more caring, proactive and accountable. Other NGOs just look on and do nothing, and that cannot be right or ethical. If one looks closer into this it is very apparent NGOs with the most donors (money) and most staff do the least to try and put right the terrible wrongs of Perhilitan and the Natural Resources and Environment (NRE).

I thank and applaud Mohd Khan Momin Khan for his forthright views on zoos and the wildlife authorities in general. Here is a man with integrity and strong personal values, unafraid to speak his mind – and this is not just any mind; after all, he is a former distinguished director general of Perhilitan effectively saying his old department is no longer fit for purpose: Many will agree with him.
New zoos are opening up all over Malaysia while something like 80% of the existing zoos operate in breach of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010. How can this be right? The situation is out of control.

Shockingly, under the present Perhilitan regime Malaysia has become infamous worldwide for being a hub for the illegal wildlife trade. How can this have happened and still be tolerated by the Minister? 

Animal welfare is clearly not a consideration of Perhilitan. Even more worryingly, NRE Minister G. Palanivel has so far shown scant interest in alleviating the widespread animal suffering in Malaysian zoos and law enforcement. The minister seems also to have no appetite for sorting out his - the most criticised and despised government departments: NRE and Perhilitan.

Is there a future for wildlife in Malaysia when so few people seem not to care?

I invite you to read again the comments of Mohd Khan Momin Khan. He is Malaysian with a wealth of relevant experience, he cares, and he shows the kind of vision totally absent these days from the NRE and Perhilitan.  

It’s time for change. The animal suffering and trade within Malaysia must end now - before it is too late.

* Sean Whyte is the CEO of Nature Alert, a UK-based NGO.

** The views and opinions expressed are soley those of the original authors and do not necessarily represent those of Astro AWANI.