By Sean Whyte, Jennifer Yeap [Letter to Editor\
The Wildlife and Natural Parks Department (Perhilitan) want us all to trust them when they claim they can account for all the ivory they have confiscated. This at least is what an unnamed spokesperson has said in a recent newspaper report.
Given Perhilitan’s alleged long history of deceit and complicity in the illegal wildlife trade, why would anyone trust them now? Only an idiot would.
Any objective observer would surely agree, the best way to disprove its critics claims of ivory having gone missing, would be for Perhilitan to open up its books and warehouses to independent audit by a trusted organisation like Traffic, and then publish the results.
Despite numerous requests for transparency, Perhilitan’s director-general Rashid Samsudin continues to resist, and this, of course, only makes more and more people grow increasingly suspicious, doesn’t it?
Perhilitan often claim they are compliant with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites). What they mean in this instance is, they have sent Cites a report stating what ivory they have in storage: 4651 pieces.
There is no way Cites can check the accuracy of these figures, so it is wholly dependent on the honesty of a government department with a long history of dishonesty when it comes to the illegal wildlife trade. Sadly, this suits Cites officials sat behind desks in Switzerland because, if there is no ivory ‘missing’ it means they don’t have to do anything unpleasant like, enforce the law against one its members.
In theory, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be investigating this, but for as long as we can remember they resist with every fibre in their body from investigating anything to do with the illegal wildlife trade. They appear to be political pawns, or victims.
We don’t intend to allow Perhilitan to get away with their attempts to prevent the truth from prevailing. It will one day.