Malaysia: International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 - Act 686

  • General Information

Wildlife trade is an activity that has a significant impact on to the survival of wild flora and fauna. Due to high value and high demand of wildlife for commercial purposes, the Malaysian government has strengthened its effort in enforcing the laws related to the conservation of the wildlife in Malaysia.

The International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 [Act 686] (INTESA) which covers the whole Malaysia [1] was gazetted by the government on 14 February 2008 and come into force on 28 December 2009 [2] [3]. The international wildlife trade is constantly dealing with serious conservation problem, this Act aims to enforce the import, export and re-export activities of CITES listed species at entry/exit points according to the CITES rules and regulations [2]. CITES refers to the United Nations' Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which currently has 175 Parties and therefore become one of the most powerful international agreement for biodiversity conservation [1] [4]. As Malaysia is a member of CITES, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Malaysia (NRE) is responsible as the CITES Scientific Authority while the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Fisheries Department, Agriculture Department, Malaysian Timber Industry Board, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Fisheries Department and Sarawak Forestry Department are the CITES Management Authorities [2]. The Management Authority is responsible:

  1. to maintain records of international trade in scheduled species and prepare annual and biennial reports concerning such trade, and to submit the reports to the Lead Management Authority on or before such date as the Lead Management Authority may determine;
  2. to establish Rescue Centres;
  3. to inform the Lead Management Authority within a reasonable period the offences committed under this Act;
  4. to do such other things as it deems fit to enable it to perform its functions effectively or which are incidental to the performance of its functions [3].

NRE as the Scientific Authority or the Lead Management Authority is responsible in providing advices to the Management Authority on: 

  1. the impact of the trade on the survival of the scheduled species;
  2. the quotas for the export of the scheduled species;
  3. the appropriate care of any live scheduled species to be imported or to be kept in Malaysia;
  4. the measures to be taken when the harvest of the scheduled species threatens its survival;  
  5. the appropriate treatment of any seized or confiscated scheduled species;
  6. the method of disposal of any seized or confiscated scheduled species; and
  7. any other matters as it deems fit to enable it to perform its functions effectively or which are incidental to the performance of its functions. [3].

In controlling the international trade of wild flora and fauna, CITES provides three regulatory options in the form of Appendices which are: 

  1. Appendix I: Animals and plants are prohibited from international commercial trade except in very special circumstances. Appendix I contains about 530 animal species and a little more than 300 plant species, including all the great apes, various big cats such as cheetahs, the snow leopard and the tiger, numerous birds of prey, cranes and pheasants, all sea turtles, many species of crocodiles, tortoises and snakes, and some cacti and orchids.
  2. Appendix II: Commercial international trade is permitted but it is strictly controlled on the basis of CITES permits. This Appendix II covers over 4,460 animal species and 28,000 plant species, including all those primates, cats, cetaceans, parrots, crocodiles and orchids not listed in Appendix I.  
  3. Appendix III: Includes species that are protected within the borders of a member country. By including a species in Appendix III, a country calls on others to help it regulate trade in the said species by making the issuance of a certificate of origin necessary to enter into trade. This Appendix lists over 290 species [4]. 

The Act also mentions that only the approved captive breeding, approved artificial propagation, approved aquaculture and approved wildlife trade sources are allowed to export their specimens for commercial purposes which by only complete and lodge the application form to the respective Management Authorities [1] [3]. In addition, these documents include the details on the specimens of species which are listed as schedule species on year 2008 (constant updates since year 2010); the permits, certificates and registration for the import, and export; power relating to enforcement, seizure, arrest and etc [3] [5]. Taking into account the amendments as agreed at the 15th Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP15) in Doha (Qatar), the guide to the list of CITES species for the purposes of this Act is constantly updated to reflect the changes to the species listed. For quick reference on the definitive list, one must use the CITES species database available at: www.cites.org/eng/resources/species.html.

For the purpose of enforcement of this act, several acts and regulations are read together which include but not limited to:

  • Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Applies to Peninsular Malaysia only),
  • Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 (Applies to Sarawak only),
  • Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 (Applies to Sabah only),  
  • Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 (Applies to Peninsular Malaysia only) [6]. 

The largest illegal wildlife trade possibly takes place in Asia, where there are demands for specific animal parts to practice traditional Asian medicine and for human consumption. By tightening the procedures, it will enable the ministry to control the illegal export of endangered species as the legislation is used as a weapon to deter or to carry out prosecution. 

  • Contact Details

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Wisma Sumber Asli
No.25 Persiaran Perdana
Presint 4
62574 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel: +603 8886 1111
Fax: +603 8889 2672
Email: http://www.nre.gov.my

References:

  1. Ministry of Nature Resources and Environment. International Wildlife Trade, Biodiversity. Last accessed on 5 Feb 2013 at http://www.nre.gov.my/Biodiversity/Pages/CITES-Listed-Species.aspx 
  2. Malaysian Timber Council. Malaysia to Enforce New Wildlife Act in June 2010. Last accessed on 5 Feb 2013 at http://www.mtc.com.my/info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=840:malaysia-to-enforce-new-wildlife-act-in-june-2010&catid=65:timber-malaysia-issue-16-no-2&Itemid=149
  3. Department of Wildlife and Nature Park, Malaysia. International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008. Last accessed on 5 Feb 2013 at http://www.wildlife.gov.my/images/stories/akta/akta686(bi).pdf
  4. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Last accessed on 6 February 2013 at http://www.cites.org/common/cop/15/Press-clippings-CoP15.pdf
  5. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Appendices I, II, and III. Last accessed on 6 February 2013 at http://www.nre.gov.my/Biodiversity/Documents/CITES%20LIST%20CoP15%20APPendix%20i%20ii%20iii.pdf
  6. UNIMAS. Wildlife Conservation Legislations in Malaysia: Evolution and Future Needs. Last accessed on 18 Febuary 2013 at http://www.ibec.unimas.my/images/Wildlife%20Conservation%20Legislations%20in%20Malaysia(2)_azlanjayasilan.pdf