Friday, December 18, 2009

Turtles, the Victims of an 'Egg-Stra' Law

Source: Malaysianmirror

KUCHING - Lawmakers not only defend the rights of fellow citizens. Sometimes, creatures other than humans. Pending state assemblyman Violet Yong is adamant about defending the turtles. She is aghast at a show of ignorance to the plight of turtles by some 'dignified' diners who feasted on the eggs of these aquatic species early this year.And she became more furious and disgusted when, recently, Sarawak Forestry Corporation controller Len Latiff advised the public against selling or buying of turtle.Early this year, an English daily showed guests at a police function at Batu Kawa consuming a plate of turtle eggs.

The VIP diners

Among those who attended the dinner were Internal Security and Public Order director Husin Ismail, Sarawak Commissioner of Police Mohmad Salleh, general operations force head Law Hong Soon and heads of departments in the police force."The expose by the daily raised the spectre of whether the application of law has been differentiated between the ordinary people and those who are supposed to protect the law," said Yong, who lodged a report on the matter at the Simpang Tiga police station on March 15, a few days after the offensive dinner.She also raised the issue in the May sitting of the state assembly, only to be told by state public utilities minister Awang Tengah Ali Hasan that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case."Insufficient evidence even with photos shown? What more do they want? No evidence? My foot!” said Violet."What a sick joke. And here we have Len asking the people to report immediately to the police if they come across people buying or selling the protected turtle eggs. "Is there two set of laws here, one for the people and one for the authority?”Len had told reporters that he was investigating the issue, adding that humans should not be selfish and cause harm to wild life,including turtle eggs, which are protected under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998."I feel furious and disgusted when I read Len's statement," Yong told Malaysian Mirror.

Case being investigated?
"He should not have opened his mouth at all. What he said makes him look so ignorant. "The story of the police taking the turtle eggs was out on the front page of the English newspaper."I lodged a report and there he was telling reporters then that the case was being investigated." Saying that Len is playing both “Cowboy and Indian” in the issue, Yong said the police should have come clean. She is concerned on how the police are going to nab future offenders as the latter might turn back and tell them that their bosses had also consumed turtle eggs and was never punished!“I am sure the law breaker will tell the police who nab him that it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black”.
The police, she said, had kept an 'eerie silence' on the issue.

A black mark
"For them to break the law blantantly by consuming a protected species and keeping quiet about it, I wonder how much faith the people have anymore in them," she said.The incident, she pointed out, left a black mark on the country as Malaysia is a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding on Asean Sea Turtle Conservation and Protection.Yong said she would not let the matter rest - for as long as the subject of turtle eggs is mentioned by any authority - until justice is served. - Malaysian Mirror
Last Updated on Friday, 18 December 2009 13:41

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