FMT LETTER: From Sean Whyte, via e-mail
It beggars belief how the government has sanctioned the expense of RM20 million on importing two pandas at a time when zoos and animal parks throughout Malaysia suffer from neglect – and not just from their owners.
Take Melaka Zoo as just one example of many.This is a zoo the NRE are directly responsible for; it is managed, or to put it more accurately, miss-managed by the incompetent Perhilitan.
This zoo has had, and continues to have, a large number of animals stuffed into tiny cages which don’t even comply with the NRE’s own Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
A severe lack of investment in new enclosures is the cause of so many animal welfare issues at this overcrowded and antiquated zoo.
It is impossible to exaggerate the appalling state of so many zoos in Malaysia. The buck for this stops firmly at the door of Douglas Ugah Embas, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Malaysia.
At the time of writing we are waiting for literally dozens of formal reports illustrating cruelty in zoos, we have lodged in the hands of Perhilitan and the NRE to be answered, let alone actioned. The arrogance and incompetence of both the NRE and Perhilitan seemingly know no limits.
They both allow massive amounts of cruelty to proliferate in zoos while they stand, or rather sit by, and do nothing. The new law in the hands of the old NRE and Perhilitan regimes looks likely to be as impotent as the law it replaced.
Not forgetting the orangutans, tigers, rhinos and other endangered species being wiped out in the wild throughout Malaysia. These species, if they are to be saved from extinction, should instead benefit from this money.
And law enforcement, especially in Sabah, would go some way to saving these endangered species for future generations, but law enforcement there consistently let’s down both animals and people.
When did you last read of anyone anywhere in Malaysia, being prosecuted for killing an endangered species – for that matter any species? Have you ever heard of a zoo or anyone being prosecuted for cruelty to captive ‘wild’ animals or involvement in the illegal wildlife trade?
It always looks as if the NRE and Perhilitan take more care of vested interests and not the wildlife they are entrusted by the Malaysian people to protect. Vested interests are no doubt at play with these pandas, as it is otherwise impossible to imagine why anyone would think spending RM20-millon on two pandas is something the Malaysian public would approve of; what good will it do to show two pandas in a cage.
Will future generations ever forgive those now in power for abandoning the Malaysian animals they are paid to protect? Imagine Malaysia with no wild orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers. This could easily happen in your lifetime.
The writer is CEO of Nature Alert ….supporting Malaysian NGOs.