The Sabah state legislative assembly today passed the Sabah Biodiversity Bill (Amendment) 2023.

The motion was tabled by Assistant Minister to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Abidin Madingkir and is aimed to empower efforts in conservation, sustainable use, management, enforcement and matters relating to access and the profit-sharing from the use of biology resources.

He also said the bill would strengthen traditional biology resources knowledge and genetic sources so that it can be implemented effectively in accordance with international and state legal provisions.

The Sabah Biodiversity Centre has received public complaints about the smuggling of endemic durian species, and insect specimens for research purposes without access or export licenses since 2018.

“If this was left unattended, Sabah’s biology resources would be exploited and commercialised by other countries and lead to losses for the state.

“The bill is important to protect plant species from being smuggled and exploited by irresponsible parties,” he said when tabling the bill, adding that the Sabah Biodiversity Enactment 2000 was amended to include a provision to control biology sources so that no one can keep, sell, buy, export or import them without a legal license from the Sabah Biodiversity Centre director.

Abidin said that the bill would also create the position of the Sabah Biodiversity Centre director who will be responsible for administrating and managing the centre, reporting directly to the Sabah Chief Minister’s Department.

The bill was passed through a voice vote.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency