It appears that our authorities are very misinformed of the welfare of animals who call Malaysia home.
1st, we were told by the Kelantan state government to ‘not blame logging‘ for the tiger appearances in Kelantan and now, the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities is telling us that ‘orangutans kill humans first’.
Let’s take this from the top, shall we?
Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, recently officiated the launch of new Malaysian Palm Oil Full of Goodness campaign, where she gave a speech as the guest of honour and keynote speaker.
During her speech, she brought up a recent interaction she had while she was on her Umrah pilgrimage.
“When I was in Mecca, I spoke to the Malaysian Ambassador. He told me that in Arab schools, books still talk badly about palm oil – our palm oil, because kita bunuh orang utan (we kill orangutans)”.
“I told him, in Malaysia, if you see orangutans, orangutans will kill you first. Not we kill the orangutans first.”
She added that she has instructed a colleague to check on the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia’s (PERHILITAN) policy on this matter.
“PERHILITAN has their policies. Do you think they will simply kill the orangutans?”
“Even lions and tigers, when PERHILITAN sees them, they don’t kill them. They have to have some sort of procedure to tranquilise them and take them to the zoo or whatever“, she explained.
She went on to share that, if consulted with PERHILITAN, they would tell us how many orangutans are in our country, including how many are dead, how many are living and where they are.
Her statements have since caused backlash, with people calling her out for being misinformed despite being a minister.
Among those who called her out was DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary and Chairman of DAP Pusat Bandar Shah Alam, Syahredzan Johan.
“As far as I know, orangutans do not kill humans, as claimed by the Minister. I may be wrong on this, so experts please correct me. There are no lions in our jungles for PERHILITAN to manage. Lions do not live in Southeast Asia. This one I am very, very sure”, he shared.
Others shared similar opinions:
“PERHILITAN does not manage orangutans because they are only in Sabah and Sarawak, they are managed by the state government”.
“Have lions migrated to Malaysia?”
“This Minister just finished watching Planet of the Apes where the orangutans attacked the humans”.
A simple Google search will show you that her statements are very wrong.
Palm oil has been named the primary cause of orangutan extinction as it is estimated that 1,000 to 5,000 orangutans are killed every year in palm oil concessions.
Due to palm oil plantations being established in swamp forests, displaced and hungry orangutans are often killed as they’re considered ‘agricultural pests‘.
Considering orangutans were once treated with pride and admiration, with an orangutan (Wira) being the mascot of the Kuala Lumpur 98 – XVI Commonwealth Games, it’s about time we once again treat them with the respect that they need and deserve.
What are your thought’s on the Minister’s statement? Do feel free to share in the comment section.
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