The ideal world, as we know it, is defined by the synchronicity of existence between people and the planet. Nature, in this day and age, is unfortunately broken, and healing our relationship with it calls for a leadership that is astutely aligned to a new way to co-exist and thrive.
To reverse the loss of biodiversity and reduce the risks of pandemics in the future, the natural ecosystems require a collective response in the form of transformative actions such as New Deal for Nature & People (NDNP), which WWF-Malaysia tirelessly works towards in line with its global vision. In all our collaborations and engagements with conservation entities and experts, corporate organisations, government entities right up to local communities, we are driven by a commitment to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature.
One such key pursuit is our effort to curb poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking. In FY20, WWF-Malaysia successfully advocated for the establishment of a wildlife enforcement rapid response unit for each zone under the Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah, a multi-agency initiative jointly led by the Royal Malaysia Police Force and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN). Since its launch in September 2019, the task force has carried out numerous successful joint operations and apprehended dozens of suspected poachers in Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Johor and Kelantan. In Sabah, the increase of patrolling by WWF-Malaysia and those carried out jointly with enforcement agencies have led to increased discovery of poaching evidences by 9 and 20 times respectively. Tackling the crisis of poaching at its source is crucial to protect the biodiversity contained within Malaysian forests for the failure to do so will not only result in mass extinction, but may also, in some cases, accelerate climate change.
Under the Marine programme, on-the-ground patrolling at nesting beaches in WWF-Malaysia’s project sites such as Setiu and Ma’Daerah in Terengganu and Melaka has led to a higher reduction of turtle-nest poaching compared to FY19. Similar reductions were also recorded in Tun Mustapha Park and Semporna in Sabah through collaborations with conservation partners such as community-based organizations and resort operators.
Going the extra mile in its anti-poaching advocacy efforts, WWF-Malaysia also worked with the High Courts in Sabah to develop sentencing guidelines for wildlife crimes. The result was the launch of wildlife crime sentencing guidelines, the first of its kind in Malaysia, to ensure fair and consistent treatment of wildlife crimes.
In calling out for sustainability practices in Malaysian oil palm plantations, the Living Landscapes Programme team in Sabah facilitated the formation of a cooperative in Tawau called Koperasi Landskap Kelapa Sawit Sabah Bhd (LKSS). The cooperative aims to assist palm oil growers in preparing for group certification, firstly under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and then, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) system.
As part of our sustainable plastics initiatives, WWF-Malaysia released a report on plastic packaging titled Plastic Packaging in Southeast Asia and China in February 2020. The report which based its study on data obtained from six countries, specifically Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and China, addressed the need to tackle the glaring plastics crisis in the region. Our additional efforts in promoting sustainability measures in Malaysia include the development of the Sustainable Retailers Scorecard, the first of its kind for Malaysia, to evaluate the environmental performance, sustainability policies, practices and efforts of the top retailers in the country.
As a leading environmental platform in Malaysia, WWF-Malaysia sees the need to work coherently towards enhancing science and thought leadership in related areas of concern. In FY20, we saw the publication of 10 papers in peer-reviewed journals apart from technical reports, advocacy writings in the media in the form of feature articles and letters to editors; presentations at conferences; and expert opinions offered via radio talk shows.
Among WWF-Malaysia’s collaborations with corporate and government entities in FY20 include the demonstration of our support towards the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources’ (KATS) two-year national campaign to save Malayan tigers through our partnership with Maybank to organise the Malayan Tiger Run 2019 – Roar for Life. The event which saw the participation of approximately 4000 participants was also used as an avenue to launch the Malayan Tiger Pledge, a year-long initiative aimed at mobilising civil society support for on-going tiger conservation.
In reflecting on the achievements recorded in FY20, I would like to thank all those who made the past one year a realistically viable journey, given the massive challenges that Covid-19 has brought into our lives. My gratitude goes out to every staff member, government agencies, corporate partners and members of the public who have played their respective roles to ensure that we infallibly continue with our efforts to protect the people and the planet.
Finally, I wish to express my appreciation to our Chairman, YAM Tunku Ali Redhauddin Ibni Tunku Mukhriz and the Board of Trustees for their constant support and encouragement towards our cause.
Sophia Lim, Executive Director/CEO, WWF-Malaysia
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia | 8 December 2020.