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KUCHING, Jan 22: PRS Youth suggests reviewing the Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 1998 and provide more liberty for locals to sell jungle produce like wild boar meat.
Ramli Likong, who is an exco member of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Kapit said this when commenting on the seizure by Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) enforcement officers of wild boar meat on sale at the open market in Kapit yesterday that prompted protest from the local sellers.
“Why, is wild boar a protected species? After they seize it, what are they going to do with it? Freeze them as exhibits to charge or compound the sellers? This does not augur well as far as local sentiments are concerned,” Ramli said in a statement issued here today.
He reiterated that while PRS appreciated the necessity to protect wildlife habitats via the Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 1998, they also called for an equilibrium to consider human needs for protein and to earn extra income.
“Hunting wild animals has been a culture amongst the natives in Sarawak. While wild boars are known pests to shifting cultivators, the meat is needed by the Dayaks for food and, its sale, due to its being a delicacy and demand, are good cash income,” stressed Ramli.
Ramli pointed out that to add salt to injury, the confiscated meat made the Iban community feel they had been unduly persecuted by SFC for selling wild game, especially wild boar, while the unlicensed bird’s nest operators located in the shoplots in Kapit were undisturbed by SFC.
“So the review, which is due and needs to be, is a wakeup call for the authorities concerned, the reason being that it is within local jurisdiction to comprehend, more so, it is now affecting the local livelihood.
“We would rather be sensitive yet pre-emptive. When reviewing, do consult the locals on what are the items considered protected and what are not, otherwise, we end up just pasting some posters of mammals along the streets.
“If it is a matter of a site to trade, then, initiate arrangement with the local council to identify a suitable market site.
“Next we would not expect this to be a run-up to recall or non-renewal of licensed firearms amongst Sarawakian natives as announced recently, just because they have to hunt.
“It’s not worth the mess. Explaining Section 6 and Section 18 of the Sarawak Land Code to the natives is already a huge burden,” added Ramli. —DayakDaily