Government complicity in ivory trade (Malaysia)


Sean Whyte, Malaysia Kini

Date Published

Readers may recall numerous letters over the past two years on the topic of Malaysia’s “blood ivory”.

If so, you won’t be surprised things have gone from bad to worse. Last weekend, Hong Kong customs authorities intercepted a total of 77 pieces of ivory-cut pieces worth about HK$2,960,000 (RM1,642,781) destined for Malaysia.
How can this happen? Easily.
The Malaysian government has never arrested any importer over the countless importations of ivory in the past, thus enabling them to carry on with their ruthless trade.
Think about it. Why would any dealer in ivory want to bring it to Malaysia? The demand must be here in Malaysia. Why else would you invest in buying and importing ivory?
After all the previous bad publicity concerning Malaysian complicity in this evil ivory trade, if you were a dealer you would want to be sure of getting your valuable consignment through customs undetected, wouldn’t you? How would you do this? Would you pay off someone to let it through?
Once your ivory is then delivered to you (after all, a shipment has to have a delivery address, doesn’t it?) in the unlikely event your ivory was to be confiscated – you would want to be certain of not being arrested and prosecuted, wouldn’t you? It’s never happened yet, so you would probably know who to speak to or pay off in government, wouldn’t you?
The ivory that has been confiscated in the past has still not been independently audited. Why does the government resist such an audit? How do we know it is all still there? Would you trust the government’s own figures?
The government also resists all requests for the ivory to be destroyed in public, as has happened in many other countries, with Sri Lanka being the most recent to announce plans to destroy its ivory stocks.
All in all, the government of Malaysia continues to behave shamefully over the illegal ivory trade.
To recap: no significant dealer has been prosecuted for numerous past confiscations, and ivory continues to be sent to Malaysia. Why? Who do you want to blame?
Elephants continue to be mercilessly slaughtered and their blood is all over the hands of those in Malaysia’s government. They should be held fully and publicly accountable.
When you next see them on television or in the press, remember the slaughtered elephants and the illegal ivory trade.