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Malaysian Authorities Destroys Four Metric Tons of Seized Elephant Tusks and Ivory Products

“These were seizures from 15 cases and from the total, 3,692.4 kg were complete and incomplete tusks while the remaining 228.89 kg were incomplete ivory products”

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Staff at a government-run waste management facility outside Seremban, Malaysia arrange seized ivory tusks before destroying them, April 30, 2019. RFA

Malaysian authorities on Tuesday destroyed around four metric tons of seized elephant tusks and ivory products thought to have been destined for China, Hong Kong and Vietnam, in trying to stop the illegal wildlife trade via Malaysia, officials said.

The ivory pieces with an estimated total value of 13.3 million ringgit (U.S. $3.2 million) were items of contraband confiscated at Malaysian ports and airports from 2011 to 2017, said Xavier Jayakumar, minister for Water, Land and Natural Resources.

“We will incinerate these case exhibits, the proscribed method for such cases, to ensure the exhibits stay off the black market,” he told reporters at a government-run waste disposal and management facility in Negeri Sembilan state, about an hour’s drive from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

“These were seizures from 15 cases and from the total, 3,692.4 kg were complete and incomplete tusks while the remaining 228.89 kg were incomplete ivory products,” he added.

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The ivory pieces with an estimated total value of 13.3 million ringgit (U.S. $3.2 million) were items of contraband confiscated at Malaysian ports and airports from 2011 to 2017. Wikimedia

Authorities believe the contraband was being smuggled from Africa to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam when they intercepted the various shipments at the Malaysian ports, Xavier said.

“It’s quite hard to find the syndicate involved in the cases because the suspects arrested are usually not syndicate members but those involved in the shipment of the contraband,” he said. “Therefore, a special team was formed to investigate and identify the syndicates involved in the cases.”

Since 1978, Malaysia has been a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, Xavier said, adding that the country was committed “to this international responsibility to curb illegal ivory trading.”

Apart from working to combat the illegal trade in elephant tusks, Malaysia last August seized 50 rhinoceros horns bound for Vietnam. Their estimated value was almost U.S. $12 million.

And in February this year, authorities in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah made a record haul when they seized 30 metric tons (66,139 pounds) in pangolin parts and products, according to Traffic, a Britain-based wildlife trafficking monitoring group.

elephants tusks, ivory products
Sabah made a record haul when they seized 30 metric tons (66,139 pounds) in pangolin parts and products. Wikimedia

Regional hub

Malaysia’s proximity to the world’s major ivory consumers, China and Thailand, as well as its efficient and well-developed port network, are factors behind why the country is used as a Southeast Asian transit hub for ivory smuggling, Traffic reported.

The NGO would like to see Malaysia implement a National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) to fight the problem, said Kanitha Krishnasamy, Traffic’s regional director. Traffic has also urged Malaysia to intensify its collaboration and communication with ivory source and consumer countries.

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“Collaborative action, including risk profiling and targeting, as well as timely communication between source and consumer countries have already resulted in a number of successful seizures globally, and indeed forms part of Malaysia’s National Ivory Action Plan that was submitted to CITES pursuant to the recommendations of the CITES Standing Committee,” Krishnasamy told BenarNews.

“Such measures must continue, conducted in tandem with other essential actions, without which Malaysia will continue to be a prominent player in the illegal ivory trade.” (RFA)

Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

Next Story

Transparency Centre To Open by Kaspersky in Malaysia in 2020

Kaspersky to open first transparency centre in Malaysia in 2020

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This would be the firm's third "code review" centre across Asia-Pacific. Pixabay

Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky on Thursday announced the opening of its first transparency centre in Malaysia in early 2020, in partnership with CyberSecurity Malaysia — the national cyber security specialist agency.

The centre will be located in Cyberjaya city in Selangor state, alongside key cyber-related government agencies and companies in the country.

Kaspersky has so far opened two more transparency centres at Zurich in November 2018, and Madrid in June 2019, in Europe.

According to the Kaspersky, its transparency centres serve as trusted facility for the company’s partners and government stakeholders to come and check the source code of firm’s solutions.

With the opening of the new establishment probably “early next year”, Kaspersky’s Managing Director for Asia-Pacific, Stephan Neumeier said it would be the firm’s third “code review” centre across Asia-Pacific.

The intent is to make it function as a briefing centre where guests would be able to learn more about Kaspersky’s engineering and data processing practices, he said at a Kaspersky event here.

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Kaspersky has so far opened two more transparency centres at Zurich in November 2018, and Madrid in June 2019, in Europe. Pixabay

“We are excited to unlock the doors of digital hub to let users experience the services and capabilities of Kaspersky’s cybersecurity technology here in our region,” Neumeier said.

He said the aim is to address the “growing demand from partners and government stakeholders for more information on how Kaspersky’s products and technologies work”.

“As a paradigm shift for the cybersecurity industry, this facility — the first in the region — will be located in Cyberjaya, all thanks to the kind cooperation of CyberSecurity Malaysia.

“We are grateful for their trust and commitment towards us as this third-party validation proves that private companies and public agencies can team-up to better protect users from cyber crime,” he said.

Founded in 1997, Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company, started the global transparency initiative with its announcement in October 2017.

And since then, the Russia-based firm claims that over 40 crore users are protected by its technologies and it helps 2.70 lakh corporate clients protect what matters most to them.

Commenting on the opening of the transparency centre, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky, said: “It is great to be here in Kuala Lumpur — in the heart of the Asia-Pacific region– to announce the opening of our third transparency centre.

“Here, we intend to show customers and government stakeholders that our products are 100 per cent trustworthy and ensure the highest level of cybersecurity protection. The launch also proves the activities we planned under our pioneer Global Transparency initiative remain on track.”

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In partnership with CyberSecurity Malaysia, Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky will be opening its first transparency centre by 2020. Pixabay

Speaking at the event, Amirudin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia said: “As the threat landscape continues to evolve in Malaysia and in the region, we believe it is crucial for private companies such as Kaspersky and government agencies to build trust and mutual cooperation. Kaspersky’s willingness to open their doors and data processes further shows they have nothing to hide.”

As a third-party entity, Wahab said, the CyberSecurity Malaysia also shares their insights and concerns to make the cybersecurity industry better.

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CyberSecurity Malaysia, an agency which works under the purview of the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia, is committed to providing a broad range of cybersecurity innovation-led services, programmes and initiatives to help reduce the vulnerability of digital systems, while at the same time, strengthening Malaysia’s self-reliance in cyberspace.

“We are really hopeful that our partnership will be an example for more government and private entities in exercising fairness and transparency for the benefit of our citizens and the cybersecurity industry,” Wahab added. ((IANS)