By S.M. Mohamed Idris
It is most unfortunate that Malaysia has once again entered into the limelight for the wrong reasons - a favourite transit point for smugglers.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the consignment of two tonnes of illegal ivory can slip under the nose of the Malaysian authorities only to be intercepted in Vietnam by the Vietnamese customs.
The question that begs to be answered is what are the Customs, police and the Malaysian Wildlife department doing? What are the reasons for the authorities in letting their guard down? Could it be there is not enough manpower to mend the ports, inefficacy of the enforcement agencies, unmanned ports and porous borders, or no budget allocation for manpower and equipment?
This past three years have seen an extreme increase in elephant poaching, with record seizures of ivory and much more sophisticated efforts on the part of poachers.
Lawmakers should be alerted to this alarming problem where smuggling ivory profits rivalled those of drug trafficking, with Malaysia playing an important role as a transshipment country.
Is there enough done by the local authorities to stop wildlife crime? In any case a law enforcement action plan to include enforcement efforts to stop wildlife crime must be coordinated. Customs, police and the Wildlife Department need to enhance their collective efforts across range, transit and consumer states to reverse the current disturbing trends in elephant poaching and ivory smuggling. More....