We congratulate the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, particularly the enforcement division, on its investigations that led to the successful prosecution of the engineer for keeping a tiger cub, a leopard cat and various other protected species as pets.
We are encouraged by the considerable fines imposed by the court, notably RM300,000 for illegally keeping a tiger – the highest penalty given for any tiger-related offence in Malaysia. Finally, a fine that commensurates with the crime of robbing Malaysians of a future with wild tigers.
It is a pity, however, that a heavier jail term was not imposed. For the tiger alone, the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 provides for a maximum sentence of RM500,000 and imprisonment of up to 5 years.
For any penalty to be a deterrent, it must sting. Nothing says that louder or clearer than significant time behind bars. A heavier jail sentence would send the strong message that crimes against wildlife are serious crimes, and not petty offences.
Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT)