Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, dozens of enforcement agencies and logistics and transport industry players across Malaysia recently came together in an effort to address wildlife crime through greater interagency co-operation.
Malaysia’s Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources (KATS), Dr Xavier Jayakumar, acknowledged the need to improve the approach to combat wildlife trafficking and urged collaboration among various agencies so that limitations of any one of them could be overcome with support of the others.
Dr Jayakumar said there was a need for a secure, structured intelligence-sharing channel, and that it was essential for Malaysia to have an effective national mechanism for detecting and preventing wildlife trafficking to improve the ability of agencies to deal jointly with wildlife enforcement issues.
The Minister made the statements in his opening speech which was read by his Deputy, Tengku Zulpuri Raja Puji to workshop participants. Also present was Deputy British High Commissioner to Malaysia David Thomas, Minister Counsellor Hiroyuki Orikasa, Embassy of Japan, and the Director-General of PERHILITAN, Dato’ Abdul Kadir bin Abu Hashim at the opening of the workshop.
Some 90 participants from law enforcement and the logistics and transport sectors shared wildlife crime case studies and current efforts to address wildlife crime during the meeting. Participants shared real challenges on the ground, particularly regarding investigations that necessitate inter-agency co-operation—the crux of any successful wildlife crime prosecutions and convictions.
Participants also discussed and recommended steps to strengthen communications and information sharing between government enforcement agencies, and collaboration between law enforcement agencies and transport and logistics companies.
The two-day workshop was jointly organised by the Ministry, the British High Commission in Malaysia, the Japanese Embassy, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and TRAFFIC.
The workshop included presentations by UK Border Force, Ministry of KATS, PERHILITAN, Royal Malaysian Customs, Port Kelang Authority, the United for Wildlife (UFW) Asia Pacific Regional Transport Group, Japan Customs, DHL and TRAFFIC. It covered a range of issues including successful arrests and convictions, trends of illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia and particularly those implicating Malaysia as well as tools and opportunities available to counter challenges.
As well as the plenary sessions, attendees participated in two break-out group sessions to deliberate and discuss some challenging questions and areas for further improvement.