SHAH ALAM: The conflict over jurisdiction between the federal and state governments is harming wildlife.
This is because state governments are forced to finance themselves through exploiting their land resources.
Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, an associate professor from the School of Environmental Science of the University of Nottingham Malaysia, said this situation had led towards a huge increase in deforestation as state governments attempted to meet their expenses.
“This was fine in the 1950s and 1960s because of the amount of GDP (gross domestic product) that was being generated but today the amount of money they are getting through this is very small,” he said at a dialogue on elephant conservation in conjunction with elephant day at Carlsberg Brewery here today.
“This basically forces states to over-exploit natural resources for very little benefit.”
He said it was important for the Federal Government to think of other ways the state governments could finance themselves as otherwise the situation could lead to corruption.
“For example, in logging forest reserves, someone makes a lot of money in the short term but in the long term the nation loses a lot.”
Apart from poaching, the conflict between humans and animals causes losses through the destruction of plantations. Deforestation is one of the major contributors to the loss of wildlife in the country.
Ahimsa pointed out that Malaysian laws and policies were adequate in promoting conservation but enforcement was still lacking.
He said that this disrespect of laws was not only prevalent among those in power but also the public and that a change in mindset was needed.
“When I’m driving in Kuala Lumpur, I see people jumping queue all the time.
“When the public doesn’t take the law seriously, this is when people in power feel they have the right to abuse that power.”