Sentencing for illegal wildlife trading must have deterrent effect, be consistent

Abang Iskandar (front row, third left) officiating at the launching the "Sentencing Guidelines for Wildlife Crimes in Sarawak" book. Also present were (from left) Sabah and Sarawak High Court Registrar Nixon Kennedy Kumbong, High Court Judge Datuk Azhahari Kamal Ramli, WWF Sarawak conservation head Dr Jason Hon, Sarawak Courts working group on environment head Jason Juga and Chan.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, June 16: With illegal wildlife trade ranking fourth globally after drugs, arms and human trafficking, court sentencing must have a deterrent effect on wildlife crimes and their perpetrators must be prosecuted with sentencing that is applied on a consistent basis.

“We must also ensure financial penalties are imposed that are sufficiently harsh enough as a final deterrent,” said World Wide Fund For Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) chief executive officer Sophia Lim, who also pointed out illegal wildlife trade is worth tens of billions ringgit.

She said this during the launching ceremony for the “Sentencing Guidelines for Wildlife Crimes in Sarawak” book at the Court Complex here today. Her speech text was read out by WWF-Malaysia conservation director Dr Henry Chan.

Lim revealed the book marked significant progress in the State’s effort to address the challenges in meting out consistent and appropriate sentences on wildlife crime offenders.

“Our journey with the courts, in particular the Sarawak Working Group of Environment, started way back in 2015.

“We embarked on this journey because of a common mission: we care for the environment. We care for the wildlife that Sarawak is richly endowed with.”

She said, with the adoption of the guidelines in court, WWF-Malaysia will continue to pursue more knowledge-sharing and capacity-building activities to create more awareness of wildlife crimes and other environmental issues in the State and lay the groundwork for more effective prosecution to be established.

The book launch was officiated at by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Dato Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim. — DayakDaily