Friday, August 14, 2009

Turtle Eggs Again !!

Sarawak Wildlife Controller, Datu Haji Len Talif Salleh told reporters in a function at a hotel on Thursday that enforcement against illegal activities involving wildlife could be enhanced if local authorities like DBKU or MBKS could take part in the programme of Honorary Wildlife Ranger.

He even admitted that illegal trading of wildlife was still rampant in the State especially that of wild boar and turtle eggs.

I am utterly amazed that Len Talif could utter such statement after the unsuccessful case or was it a close case involving police senior officers and personnel who openly and blatantly consumed turtle eggs on a Saturday night on February 28 this year in Batu Kawa General Operation Force camp.

Despite the news appearing on Borneo Post front page with combo pictures shown of the turtle eggs on March 2, there was silence from the senior police officers. I lodged a police report on March 5; again the silence was deafening.

There was no comment from the police or Len Talif’s SFC until now. When reporters asked Len Talif then, he could only say investigation is going on. Even in the DUN when I brought up the issue, I was told that there was insufficient evidence!

Insufficient evidence even with photos shown? Why was it that Len Talif did not dare reveal the statistic of the turtle eggs seized and the number of people arrested and prosecuted? Was it because the figure was too little to be highlighted? Or were the turtle eggs consumed by an elite group, and the authority had to turn a blind eye? Or was it only Tom, Dick and Harry who consume such illegal delicacies would face the music and the number was too small.

The police is a uniformed body. They should uphold the laws and not break them. From that incidence, the people have lost faith in the already eroding confidence of the police. By not taking action, a lot of people have come to the conclusion that there are two sets of laws, in Sarawak, one for the high and mighty, the authorities who would escape from Gods know what laws they could break, and another for ordinary people like you and me.

I always wonder how the policemen would react if they see people selling turtle eggs. Will they arrest the people and have them told that the police had too consume the turtle eggs and no one was charged? How are they going to uphold the laws when they themselves broke it in the first place? The public will ridicule them. I know not all policemen consumed turtle eggs but some of those at the dinner are senior personnel in the police force. Why was it that none of them mentioned to the host of the dinner that it was illegal to consume turtle eggs. And please, don’t plead ignorance of the law; the court will not accept that as mitigation or evidence.

All marine turtle species are categorized as Totally Protected Animals under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 but this was disregarded by the authority. So I think Len Talif should stop talking on rampant illegal consumption of protected species. You have a case right under your nose but it was put aside just because the offenders are the police. What a joke!

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