Friday, October 19, 2007

Conspiracy to export monkeys for profit: NGO

Conspiracy to export monkeys for profit: NGO
Bede Hong | Oct 19, 07 7:28pm

A wildlife conservation group wants the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to look into alleged business dealings involving a minister and a former director-general where wild monkeys are being exported for profit.

The group said the ACA must investigate Environment Minister Azmi Khalid (photo) and former Department of Wildlife and National Parks DG Musa Nordin, who retired last October, for abuse of power.

Malaysian Animal Rights and Welfare Society (Roar) believes that a company linked to the two is the beneficiary of a export programme created under the guise to trim down the population of long-tailed macaques in Peninsular Malaysia.

Roar submitted a memorandum to ACA office in Kuala Lumpur today calling for investigation into the matter. Accompanying the group were DAP and PKR officials.

Roar consists of Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (SSPCA), Malaysian Animal Assisted Therapy for Disabled Association, PKR and Malaysian Association for Responsible Pet Ownership.

Motivated by profit

“We are angry that the animals are being exploited by the very ministry tasked to protect them,” Roar pro-tem chairperson N Surendran told a press conference today.

Surendran said ACA should investigate whether a recent lifting of the ban on the export of macaques was motivated by profit.

In June, against international convention, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry lifted a 23-year ban on the export of macaques, saying there is an overpopulation of the species.

In July, Roar submitted a memorandum to the minister demanding the reinstatement of the ban and a halt on all pending macaque shipments. They also lodged a police report against Azmi and ministry officials for violating Section 92(f) of the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972.

The police forwarded the case to the ACA last month, saying it has elements of abuse of power.

“We found this very suspicious. All animal rights groups and wildlife experts found it very strange. The question is why the ministry is bent on exporting these monkeys? I will give you the answer right now... money,” said Surendran.

“The ministry wants to make money out of it, and the ministry is allowing a private company to make money out of it. The question here is why is the Malaysian environment and natural resources being plundered in order to profit some company,” he said.

RM250 for one monkey

Surendran referred to a news article published by the Star on Sept 11, where Musa admitted he was “indirectly involved” in the monkey trade.

“We have information that the decision to export the monkey when Musa Nordin was still the DG. We have information that there is connection with the company. He has close contacts with the Department of Wildlife. Clearly there was some hanky panky going on there with elements of corruption,” he said.

According to Roar, each exported monkey brings in RM250. The macaques are exported, mostly to China, for animal testing and vivisection.

Roar alleged that the export contract of over 20,000 monkeys annually was given by the Environment Ministry to a company, Sunny K-9 Sdn Bhd. A check revealed that the company, based in Ipoh, is a dog-training academy.

Surendran also disagreed with the Environment Ministry figures that there are over 250,000 monkeys living near urban centres and over 500,000 monkeys living in the jungles.

“We question the figures because experts found that it was not possible to calculate the precise number of monkeys through the ministry’s methodology. I feel the figures are grossly over-estimated to justify the lifting of a ban,” said Surendran.

Surendran said the ministry should pursue alternative ways to reduce the macaque population including sterilisation, relocation and humane culling.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Death Penalty: Need to find out why people kill (malaysiakini - letter)

Death penalty: Need to find out why people kill
Charles F Moreira
Oct 17, 07 4:00pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini letter, Death penalty will not save our little ones.

Perhaps the death penalty, which we already have and which will most probably be applied to those convicted of causing Nurin Jazlin Jazimin’s death will not deter such things from happening in the future but Amnesty International's solution, which reads like gobbledegook to me, misses issues of the value systems in our current society leading people to commit such heinous, perverted acts.

Rather sociological studies should be done to understand why people do such things, including the stresses and alienation of urban life, acquisitive culture, the influence of pornography through the Internet and pirated DVDs and so on, and action needs to be taken to address these, even though it may mean a whole rethink of our development policy and competitive, capitalist

Of course, achieving such changes under the present government may be impossible, so perhaps we need a different government, which will reverse the situation and move back towards a more humane and caring society of the past.

Death penalty will not save our little ones (malaysiakini-letter)

Death penalty will not save our little ones
Shanon Shah Mohd Sidik
Oct 11, 07 3:21pm

Amnesty International Malaysia is outraged by the brutal murder of eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin. We offer our deepest condolences to her family members and loved ones. This disgusting and terrifying crime is a sad reflection of how unsafe our country really is for girls.

It is depressing, but the reality is that Nurin is just the latest in a series of girls who have died as a result of sexual abuse and violent crimes. Many in this nation have not even fully recovered from the brutal rape and murder of 10-year-old Nurul Huda Abd Ghani in Johor Bharu back in January 2004.

Public outrage in this matter is completely understandable. However, calls for the death penalty to be applied to the offenders of this crime are misplaced.

In fact, countless men and women have been executed worldwide for the stated purpose of preventing crime, especially the crime of murder and sexual violence. Yet Amnesty International has failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty has any unique capacity to deter others from commuting particular crimes.

A survey of research findings on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates, conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 2002, concluded: ". . .it is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment."

However, Amnesty does hold that governments have the responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone who lives in the country. According to international standards, governments must first of all respect people's human rights – in other words, governments themselves must not violate human rights.

Governments must also protect peoples' rights – ensuring that other people or bodies do not abuse people's rights. And lastly, governments must fulfil human rights, making them a reality in people's everyday experiences.

In the case of children, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a legally binding UN treaty that Malaysia has ratified, clearly states in Article 34 that:

"States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse."

Article 37(a) of the CRC states: "No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment."

The state might argue that it is impossible to prevent violations against girls, especially if they are perpetrated by individual members of society. But this is precisely where preventing harm towards all potential victims requires the strengthening of the general judicial and administrative framework, including effective education for everyone on gender and human rights.

At the same time, law enforcement officials need to be sensitised on the specific nature and impacts of violence against women and girls. This principle is called due diligence on the part of the government, and it is enshrined in the CRC and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw), another legally-binding UN treaty ratified by Malaysia.

Amnesty International Malaysia would like to see the Malaysian government and the police force being more proactive in addressing these concerns, in consultation with women's organisations, shelters, and individual men, women and girls from the public. The nation mourns Nurin Jazlin. Let us never have to mourn another girl child in these circumstances ever again.

The writer is executive director, Amnesty International Malaysia