KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 (Bernama) — The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) seized 4,624 units of elephant ivory tusks for the period 2011-2014, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.
Natural Resources and Environment deputy minister, Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit, said the seizure, via 11 cases of detention of trade consignments, occurred at several main entrances into the country including Pasir Gudang Port, Butterworth Port, Port Klang and KL International Airport.
“However, the detention by the RMCD only involved the illegal ‘consignments’ and investigations carried out were unable to trace the owners,” he said.
He was replying to a question by Zairil Khir Johari (DAP-Bukit Bendera).
In addition, Dawos said the Wildlife Department also detained four individuals involved in hijacking 43 units of elephant tusks and the case was being investigated by the relevant departments.
Of the four, a Chinese citizen was sentenced to two months jail and a fine of RM250,000 for storing and exporting 16 units of tusks without a special permit.
Also involved were two locals, one was sentenced to a fine of RM200,000 or 36 months in jail for possession of nine units of ivory and the other was fined RM2,000 for the offence of possessing two units of ivory.
Another case involving 16 units of ivory was still under investigation, he added.
Meanwhile, Dawos said all the seized ivory were stored in government-held stockpiles and an independent audit would be conducted on whether the materials should be destroyed or stored.
Replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim (BN-Kuala Selangor) on the government’s monitoring of illegal activities, Dawos said the ministry was working with various parties including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to curb such activities.