MALACCA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Year of the Monkey will soon scamper away but not before causing mischief in Malacca that led to 51 police reports made over macaque harassment.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron has called for a stop to such monkey business, suggesting that the animals be relocated to their natural habitat.
The task of relocating them was not only in the hands of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) but also other animal experts, he said.
"The macaques shouldn't be injured or killed. So, we need those especially from non-governmental organisations dealing in animal care to provide input and expertise," he said in an interview.
Among the police reports made last year included complaints about them attacking motorists and snatching belongings.
Idris has earlier noted that the monkeys at Sungai Udang here were mischievous where they brazenly grabbed stuff carried by people.
Police records showed that 51 reports were made throughout last year.
One case that made the news happened in August when a group of monkeys waylaid and attacked a postman and then ran off with the mail.
On April 21 last year, a 71-year-old grandmother from Kampung Chin Chin fractured her right wrist when some monkeys set upon her while she was feeding her chickens.
The latest attack happened on Dec 29 when a 64-year-old woman was bitten by a monkey while she was taking out the rubbish outside her home in Jasin. Her right index finger was injured.
Malacca police had referred the victims' reports to Perhilitan.
Malacca Perhilitan director Noorzakiahanum Mohd Noh acknowledged that the department had received reports on monkey attacks throughout the state almost on a daily basis in recent months.
"The macaques issue is a challenge for the department. We have to deal with it with caution as we do not want to breach animal rights," she said when contacted.
Noorzakiahanum said that game rangers set up traps at certain areas to avoid using weapons that could injure or kill the animals.