Thursday, November 5, 2015

Turtle Eggs, Anyone?

The offending photo, first posted by a user named ‘Deadturtles Sabah’ on a turtle resort’s Facebook page. Image credit:

Environmental NGOs and research organization Danau Girang Field Centre had raised the alarm after a photograph, believed to have been taken in August 2015 was circulated on social media – featuring Ismail Sabri, Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Beluran UMNO division chief James Ratib and Sandakan municipal council deputy president Mohd Hamsan Awang Supain among five other men seated at Restoran Indah Keranamu in Sandakan, Sabah with turtle eggs and lobsters placed on the “Lazy Susan” in front of them.

Green and Hawksbill turtles (Chelonia mydas and Eretmochelys imbricate respectively) are both totally protected species under Sabah's Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and Section 41 of the said Act states it is an offence to possess these animals or its products. Offenders can be fined RM50,000 or jailed five years, or both, upon conviction.
What message are we conveying to the world when we ourselves are consuming products of endangered species?
Environmentalists have urged the Sabah Wildlife Department to take stern action against the culprits and to send a strong message that protected species are not for sale and/or for consumption.
I can just imagine Ismail Sabri making a denial – and probably saying that “they look like telur penyu, taste like telur penyu but they are not telur penyu".

Or maybe, he might think the rest of Malaysia is stupid and he will have no qualms about declaring that they were not turtle eggs just over-sized ping pong balls! And that this was not an UMNO dinner but a Sabah Table Tennis Association event!
I was in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in KL yesterday where I was the General Evaluator for the TTDI Toastmasters meeting. A good meeting and I am glad that this Toastmasters Club continues to stay vibrant.

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