Department to act on turtles eggs at Umno Sabah dinner

Department to act on turtles eggs at Umno Sabah dinner

The Sabah Wildlife Department will question the owner of the errant restaurant under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) will be taking punitive action against a restaurant in Sandakan which had turtle eggs on the menu for an official Umno Sabah dinner on August 29. Pictures of the dinner where turtle eggs were served are going viral on social media.

The Department would also seek the assistance of the Sandakan Municipal Council and these who organised the dinner function. Earlier, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun had said that he would leave it to the SWD to investigate the incident. “We will wait for them first to complete their investigation.”

Sabah Wildlife Department Director William Baya disclosed that he had already instructed two of his officers to question the owner of the errant restaurant, allegedly Indah Keranamu, under Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and as per section 41 of the enactment. “It’s an offence to have these creatures or their eggs,” said William. “Those who are found guilty of any offences under the law can be fined RM50,000 or jailed five years or both or further jail in lieu of the fine.”

William added that the SWD wanted to know how the turtle eggs ended up on the dinner menu at the errant restaurant. “The case will be given top priority. We will get to the bottom of this incident as soon as possible.”

Umno Beluran divisional chief James Ratib has since denied that turtle eggs were served during the dinner. He added that he did not know what type of eggs was served during the dinner. He did not say whether he consumed the eggs.

Netizens have noted on social media that Ismail Sabri has been quoted as saying in the national media that he did not consume the turtle eggs during the dinner function where, the photographs showed, that he was present and there were two dozen turtle eggs on a plate before him. “I only ate fish because I have to control my cholesterol level,” he was quoted as saying. “I did not eat the turtle eggs.”

He did not comment on what he thought about others eating the turtle eggs served during the dinner.

The social media is abuzz with the incident where turtle eggs were served at an Umno Sabah dinner function. Netizens noted that Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri and James Ratib were present.

The pictures were reportedly first posted by Danau Girang Field Centre on Wednesday. Other reports in the social media indicate that the pictures were in fact posted on the Walai Penyu Resort Libaran Facebook Page by the Taman Hadiah Turtle Hatchery under the name “Deadturtles Sabah”.

The photos shared by the Danau Girang Field Centre has in part the caption: “How shocking is this for us, wildlife conservationists? . . . Both sea turtle species are totally protected in Sabah under the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997. It’s an offence to harvest, sell and/or consume turtle eggs in Sabah! What’s the message that the restaurant, and the people consuming the eggs, are sending to the next generation, to the Sabah people, to all of us working hard to conserve and protect wildlife in our beloved Sabah.”