By Sean Whyte
Douglas Embas’s stint as Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Minister is memorable for what he failed to do to help save wild and captive animals. He presided over scandal after scandal within the NRE and Perhilitan, seemingly unperturbed by public condemnation and the animals suffering.
Back than it was difficult to imagine a successor who could be even more ineffective than the aforementioned Minister. Now there is one – G Palanivel.
Admittedly, it’s early days yet but if his response or, rather lack of, to the not insignificant matter of valuable ivory going ‘missing’ on his watch is anything to go by, Malaysia’s animals both wild and captive are in for a rough and excruciatingly painful ride ahead. All the signs so far suggest this Minister shows little if any interest in the environment, let alone wildlife.
Repeated calls to the Minister and the NRE to invite Traffic (distinguished wildlife trade monitoring organisation with a office in KL) to independently audit the ivory stocks appear to have been ignored. Why won’t he allow Traffic to audit stocks? Might it be because an inconvenient truth will be uncovered?
Practically everyone knows Malaysia is an international hub for the illegal wildlife trade and has been for as long as anyone can remember. Let me put it another way: For this trade to continue the criminals concerned must see Malaysia and its so-called wildlife authorities as a soft touch: Would you agree?
Try as I do, I find it impossible to imagine what it must be like to work in an organisation seen, presumably, by criminals and friends as a soft touch. What do you say when you go home and children or neighbours ask ‘have you had a good day at the office today?’ or from a child ‘will there be any animals left in the wild when I am your age?’ More....