It is heartening to see Singaporeans speak up about how we can better protect our wildlife (Big difference in penalties for wildlife offences, by Mr Chiok Wen Xuan; April 30).
Mr Chiok has rightly noted that although the Government has stepped up efforts to tackle wildlife crime, more needs to be done; for instance, increasing the penalties for violations under the Wild Animals and Birds Act, which is the principal legislation protecting wildlife in Singapore.
In February, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng announced that he would be proposing changes to the Wild Animals and Birds Act through a private member's Bill.
The Bill aims to tighten up the Wild Animals and Birds Act so that it acts as a greater deterrent against those whose actions may cause harm to wildlife.
Following the announcement, a Wild Animals Legislation Review Committee was formed and members have given their views and proposed various amendments to the Wild Animals and Birds Act.
The proposed amendments were discussed at a public consultation yesterday at the Singapore Sustainability Academy at City Square Mall, where members of the public shared their views on how to increase protection for our wildlife. These amendments will be publicised online in the coming weeks.
Mr Chiok also noted that the public may not understand the law or that certain acts - like releasing pets into the wild or trapping birds - are offences.
One of the aims of the public consultation was also to provide an overview of the Wild Animals and Birds Act - what it is about and what constitutes illegal actions.
The private member's Bill on the amendments to the Wild Animals and Birds Act will be a bottom-up initiative, where the views of the public will play a part in shaping the changes to the legislation.
Karen Sim (Ms)
Wild Animals Legislation Review Committee