Friday, August 14, 2009

Department Denies Giving Permit To Ilegal Wildlife Trader

The following is a response to our report today at the MACC in KL against Perhilitan Penang giving special permits to illegal wildlife trader Anson Wong.

The report is by Bernama News Agency. The news was covered by ntv7 today.

Department Denies Giving Permit To Illegal Wildlife Trader

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has refuted claims that it had accepted bribes and approved special permits to illegal wildlife trader Anson Wong Keng Liang to carry out his activities in the country.

Deputy Director-General Misliah Mohamad Basir said the special permit issued to Wong in 1999 was to allow him to keep legally-acquired animals in his mini zoo in Bukit Jambul, Penang.

The permit was for keeping eight crocodiles, two "felis concolor" cougars and a Cuban ground iguana which he bought overseas using legal documents, she said.

"The permit was for him to keep the animals in his sanctuary and not to export or trade them," he told Bernama.

She said that the allegation connecting her and the department with corrupt practices was "a serious and a very bad allegation."

She was commenting on reports lodged by several non-government organisations to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, claiming that special permits were issued to Wong to carry out his activities here when she was the Penang Perhilitan director.

Misliah said she was surprised over the attempts to connect her with the permits as the permits were signed by the then Perhilitan Director-General Datuk Musa Nordin.

"I would like to stress that the issuance of the permit was not wrong as he had been keeping the animal for quite sometime. When we were told that he had been arrested in the United States, should we seize the animals which he had obtained legally?" she asked.

She added that the special permits were renewable on a yearly basis so long as the animals were alive.


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