KOTA KINABALU: Geographical factor is among the main obstacle for the government to tackle the smuggling off sea turtles from the state to neighbouring countries.
In explaining the matter, Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun, said it is a challenge which the government has to overcome through its various agencies to fight the smuggling the endangered species.
“We admit that this is no easy task, especially the smuggling activities took place in maritime borders where it is just 10 kilometers away from another country’s island.
“For some people, it is easier to talk rather than taking action,” he said in his answer for Datuk Wilfred Bumburing (APS-Tamparuli) who asked whether his ministry receives help from Maritime Department to handle illegal poaching on sea turtles.
Masidi added, the state government through Sabah Wildlife Department (JHLS) is coming up with a plan to overcome the issue and control the smuggling of sea turtle such as in Pulau Tiga, Kudat.Regarding on the plan to gazette one million hectare for Tun Mustapha Marine Park, he said the plan will be carried out next year.
Meanwhile, in his answer for Edwin Bosi (DAP-Kepayan), the state Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Kamarlin Ombi, said his ministry has set up a team with the participation of JHLS, ESSCOM, Malaysia Maritime Authority (APMM), Sabah Parks, Sabah Fisheries Department, WWF-Malaysia, Malaysia Armed Forces (MAF), Malaysia Royal Customs (JKDM), and Public Defence Department.
According to him, it is to step up the efforts to tackle the hunting and smuggling of sea turtles in Sabah waters.
He also said that related agencies will cooperate and take actions in detecting and preventing illegal hunting on sea turtles, while ESSCOM and other enforcement agencies will monitor the areas covered by ESSZONE. – SayangSabah