• Wildlife Conservation Act 2010,
Act 716 (June 2011)
• Species Listings / Schedule Amendments (Apr 2012)


• Zoo Reguiations 2012
(Jan 2012)
Commercial Breeding Regulations 2013 (Feb 2013)
Disposal Regulations 2013
(Feb 2013)
Fee Schedule 2013 (Feb 2013)


 International Trade in Endangered Species 2008, Act 686
Protection of Wild Life Act
1972, Act 76


Pet Shop Regulations
Exhibitions Regulations

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P4PHM >> Industry Issues

Issues Afflicting the Industry

The WCA 2010 Act 716 and subsequent Regulations, enacted under Section 132, were implemented or enforced with inadequate consultation with stakeholders. At the time the WCA 2010 Act 716 was enacted, only a handful of Associations existed including MAZPA and the Pet Shop Association, both of whom have understandably watched out for its own interests only.

However, as the summary below will demonstrate, the issue affected a wider industry than initially anticipated. Even the P4PHM had initially been on the look out for zoo operator, commercial breeder and specific trader issues was forced to undergo a rapid change to cover issues from a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

Engaging the NRE Engaging the NRE
P4PHM Engages the NRE on July 24, 2012

The WCA 2010 Act 716, a Non-Retrospective Law

To explain "non-retrospective law," let us use our "driver's license analogy". In Malaysia, for example, one has to be 18-years of age to first qualify for a driver's license. Therefore, a teenager who turns 18 today, can obtain a driver's license if he/she has taken the necessary courses and passes the driver's tests.

However, let's say that tomorrow, the government decides that an individual would now have to be 21 before he is entitled to drive. Does this mean that the qualified, licensed driver of 18 years yesterday is no longer allowed to drive? No, it does not. Because the new law cannot be applied retrospectively on an individual already licensed. However, it means that an individual who turns 18 after the new law has been enacted may not apply for a license until he/she is 21.

As the WCA 2010 Act 716 is a Non-retrospective Law, it cannot be applied to stakeholders already in business prior to its enactment. Aggrieved stakeholders may potentially take authorities to task over the enforcement of non-retrospective laws on existing stakeholders.

However, this will not benefit the animals in our care if we continue to live in the past. The P4PHM, therefore, agrees that a new law was needed to replace the old one but is merely requesting that authorities provide existing stakeholders a "reasonable grace period" to comply to new standards. The P4PHM has proposed "provisional zoo licenses," for example, but PERHILITAN has not responded to its proposals on the concept. After a reasonable period of time and after a zoo has complied to new standards, these zoos should then be entitled to a full "zoo license."

The P4PHM contends that the 6-month grace period provided by PERHILITAN in February 2012 was grossly insufficient because many of its stakeholders have been in operations for many number of years, some for more than 25 years. A major zoo explained that it had taken it two years just to microchip and tag just 80% of its animals, let alone six months! It would have been impossible to comply within a six month period on the back of threats without any provision of assistance or financial aid.

However, any new business (zoo, trader or otherwise) must first comply fully to the WCA 2010 Act 716 before the new entity may be fully licensed. Yet, at least two new zoos are already receiving wildlife specimens from PERHILITAN even though those zoos cannot yet be licensed! Furthermore, some of these wildlife specimens have been taken, or confiscated, from existing private zoos.

The Non-CITES Species Issue

The First and Second Schedules of the WCA 2010 Act 716 provide for "protected species" and "totally protected species" listings; essentially, these Schedules would roughly equate to CITES' Appendix II and I schedules respectively.

However, many CITES II animals (both local and foreign) were accorded a "totally protected species" status, for example, the Blood Python. This meant that hobbyists around the world could keep a Malaysian Blood Python as a pet but hobbyists in Malaysia could not! One home breeder was also advised to surrender his entire collection of more than 70 captive bred specimens for "termination."

Furthermore, many common foreign species such as the Sugar Glider were placed into the First Schedule, which meant that hobbyists in the country would have to pay a fee of RM3 to RM10 per head annually to continue keeping these exotic pets.

Another issue was the categorization of a species as "totally protected" even though CITES only list a specific geographic population as Appendix I and the rest Appendix II.

PERHILITAN has included many common local species into its "protected species" listing (the First Schedule) but there also have been no research or literature produced by the Department to support these amendments. Furthermore, species included in a PERHILITAN-sponsored Red List were not accorded the recommended protection status.

Funnily, before the species were removed from a "protected species" status in April 2012, the Muscovy Duck and the commonly farmed African Ostrich were considered "protected species." The P4PHM has, therefore, proposed an immediate review of the protected status of a variety of species and that the Schedules be subject to six-monthly reviews to accommodate global adjustments.

Tokay Gecko Blood Python
The Tokay Gecko is another common species that has been accorded "protected species' status The Malaysian Blood Python has been accorded a "totally protected species," resulting in hobbyists having to surrender their "pets"

Section 95

Section 94 of the WCA 2010 Act 716 provides for "search and seizure with warrant." The Section spans over more than two pages of the Act and spells out conditions for which a warrant may be issued for enforcement by PERHILITAN. However, almost every PERHILIAN officer will tell you that it does not need a warrant to confiscate animals from stakeholders; nor raid a premise.

This is because PERHILITAN has applied Section 95 that provides for "search and seizure without warrant." A single paragraph negates the provisions of Section 94.However, what is not explained is that Section 95 only allows the "search and seizure without warrant" if PERHILITAN officers are convinced that perpetrators may destroy or remove evidence.

In each case that PERHILITAN has confiscated animals from zoos or traders, it has never applied Section 94, i.e. it has never applied for a warrant. Nor has PERHILITAN taken any of the "designated perpetrators" to court! The P4PHM has highlighted the exploitation of Section 95 and has requested that PERHILITAN must apply Section 94 in the first instance.

Interactive Programs and Animal Shows Restricted at Private Zoos

Private zoos were prohibited form conducting animal shows and interactive programs that major zoos were allowed, even though both entities would have relied on same source and principals of conditioning for these programs

Budgies Animal Shows
Not only are feeding programs such as these potentially banned at private zoos, these birds were considered "invasive" by local authorities. Shows involving "protected species" were also to be prohibited at private zoos

Invasive Species Issue

Several popular pet species were ruled "invasive" even though there had not been any research or evidence on the assumption. For example, budgerigars were considered an invasive species even though no ferral populations of this species exist in the fifty years that the birds have been popular pets. Not only will budgerigars not survive in the wild (they rely on a specific grass seed), they will also be killed by territorial crows.

There Are More than 20 Pertinent Issues on Hand

More than 20 issues were raised and tackled during recent meetings with the NRE and PERHILITAN. While many have been tentatively resolved, others remain outstanding. Others are being raised as they are encountered by stakeholders and hobbyists. So, the engagement continues...

Wildlife issues barely receive any coverage in the news unless a tiger kills someone or someone was caught killing a tiger. We do not highlight these issues in order to embarrass or upset PERHILITAN. We know they are under pressure from NGOs, both local and foreign, to enforce the new law. We are merely stating our side of the story and plead for a reasonable grace period.

Because until the P4PHM came about, licensed stakeholders generally went about their businesses quietly without raising any issues, even if it felt aggrieved by the lack of action against the perpetrators such as traffickers, poachers and destroyers of natural habitats. Those are wildlife conservation's true enemy.


Updated April 9, 2013
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