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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Nov 24: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998 when amended, must be comprehensive to provide a delicate balance between conservation of wildlife and the people’s welfare.
“Yes. Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998 amendment must be comprehensive if we are serious in protecting both our wildlife and life of human beings which depend on the survival of our wildlife.
“The protection of wildlife must include the preservation of human life and its economic standard. So, a delicate balance between whom to protect lies with SFC (Sarawak Forestry Corporation). The intelligent and clear pursuance of the objectives must be very clear from the very beginning.
“Therefore, there must be no hidden agenda in pursuing these noble goals by any relevant agencies,” Masing told DayakDaily today.
He also reminded SFC that the protection of wildlife must include all wildlife in Sarawak including exotic fish species especially such as empurau and semah.
“These two fish species must be included in the list of protected species. Once they are on the list, then the sale of wild empurau and semah will be prohibited, but the sale of domesticated (breed via aquaculture) would be allowed,” he said.
Yesterday, Masing and PRS vice-president Datuk Liwan Lagang have suggested that the current Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998, must be amended to allow natives to sell wildlife especially wild boars to supplement their income.
Masing had said it is high time for the State government to amend the said ordinance as the natives have been deprived to earn extra income from the sale of wild boar meat in the open market.
“Yes, we have voiced out our concerns of the natives who have been barred to sell wildlife especially wild boar meat in the open market all this while,” Masing told DayakDaily yesterday.
He stressed that presently, there has been no definite data from SFC showing the hunting by native communities of wild boars that resulted in its drastic decline.
As a native himself, Masing said, wild game including wild boar is a major source of protein intake and another source of income for the native communities, especially during the economic slowdown due to Covid-19.
He also highlighted the fact that one of the reasons for the decline of wild boars’ population is illegal hunting by non-natives.
Liwan agreed with Masing’s suggestion for the ordinance to be amended as hunting of wild boars has been the natives’ way of life and that the decline of wild boars was caused by illegal hunting and illegal logging.
Liwan, who is Belaga assemblyman pointed out that the ordinance needed to be amended so that there is more bite for the authorities to get the real culprits than the poor hunters who just want to earn extra income to feed their families.
Both Masing and Liwan were responding to SFC’s statement yesterday that the reason for the State government to prevent the sale of wild boar meat is to ensure that the natives would have a sustainable supply of such a source of protein.
It stated that under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998, the authorities do not permit any sale of wildlife including non-protected species (including wild boar met) taken from the wild.
However, SFC asserted that natives residing in the native areas are permitted to hunt for their own self-consumption but not for sale or trade.
The statement from SFC was in response to DayakDaily’s report yesterday entitled “Give leeway to wild boar meat sellers in Kapit” whereby Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing had hoped that SFC would give the Dayaks in Kapit a leeway to sell wild boar meat to supplement their income especially during the current economic downturn caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998, it is an offence to sell or buy any wildlife or wildlife products that have been hunted from the wild anywhere in Sarawak. The penalty for selling wildlife products or wild meat without a license is RM5,000, while the penalty for buying wildlife trophies or wild meat is RM2,000. – DayakDaily