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KUCHING, Jan 23: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has cautioned the police not to revoke shotgun licences from the natives of Sarawak as they have been a part of their culture and lifestyle for generations.
He added that shotguns were considered by the natives as their heirlooms and inheritance.
“The possible revocation of rifles, if it includes shotgun licences, by the police will have serious implications on the native communities in Sarawak.
“The use of shot guns, and not rifles, for hunting and protecting their farms has been embedded in their culture and lifestyles for generations. Thus, shotguns have become their prized heirlooms and they will protect its ownership with their lives.
“I hope Pakatan Harapan government and the police do not take such pronouncement of taking natives’ shotgun licences too lightly, if it’s in their proposal.
“As a lawmaker representing the rural communities, I’m cautioning the relevant authorities to be very guarded in revoking shotgun licences belonging to the natives in Sarawak,” Masing said here today.
He was commenting on Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador’s statement that all firearm licenses granted for the ownership of rifles would be revoked in stages.
The IGP had said that the license revocation was among steps taken by the police in its efforts to stop wildlife poaching, seen to be on the rise in the country.
“The move was initiated after the weapon was identified to be the most popular hunting tool among poachers,” he was quoted.
At the same time he said, there was fear that the firearms could fall in the hands of militant groups and the police have stopped granting approval for firearms licenses.
Hamid said police are in the midst of identifying almost 7,000 rifle owners in order to revoke the permits.
When asked about those in certain communities who depend on hunting as their livelihood, Hamid said efforts would be taken to persuade the community such as the Orang Asli, to help conserve our flora and fauna. —DayakDaily