Malaysia: Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment (1997)

  • General Information

The state of Sabah has formulated a number of laws as to provide a greater protection and better management of the biodiversity and natural environment of Sabah. This includes the Wildlife Conservation Enactment (No. 6 of 1997) which was gazetted on 24th December 1997 [1]. This Enactment equipped the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) to carry out its’ duties related to the provisions for the conservation and management of wildlife and its habitats in Sabah for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations of their peoples [1] [2].  The SWD is under the purview of the Sabah Ministry for Tourism Development, Environment, Science and Technology and focuses in conserving the integrity and diversity of nature and ensuring the sustainable and equitable use of the state’s wildlife resources [1]. Briefly, the objectives of SWD are:

  1. To conserve the flora, fauna and nature of Sabah so as to ensure the perpetuation of all species within their natural habitats.  
  2. To manage the state’s wildlife resources for the benefit of the people of Malaysia in general and of Sabah in particular [1].

In this Enactment, besides establishing SWD as the administrator including the appointments of the SWD Director and wardens (Part II), it also provides the declarations of the three types of protected areas which are the Wildlife Sanctuaries (section 9(6)), Conservation Areas (section 21) and Wildlife Hunting Areas (section 64) [2]:

  1. Wildlife Sanctuaries, the strongest conservation category for fauna, flora, genetic resources and habitats based on the urgent need to save the wildlife, a whildelife habitat or an ecosystem from immediate destruction or irremedial damage  
  2. Conservation Areas, for the purpose of fast and flexible protection of wildlife and habitats, migration sites, migration corridors and sites of scientific value, or for the purpose of the control of the smuggling of flora or fauna.    
  3. Wildlife Hunting Areas intended for animal population management by regulated hunting [1].

In addition, this Enactment also describes the provisions relating to all protection of animals and hunting (Part IV) and protection of plants (Part VI) together with the list of animals and plants that are totally protected species (Schedule I), protected species and limited hunting and collecting under licence (Schedule II), and protected species but if for hunting licence is required (Schedule III). Every protected (Schedule 1) animal / plant or animal product shall be the property of the Government, and if any person who hunts, or obtain possession of those animals without the proper licensing are presumed to commit an offence [2] and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of RM50,000 or five (5) years imprisonment or both [1].

The details about the hunting licences are also described in the Enactment. For animals, the categories are as follow:

  1. Sporting licence;  
  2. Commercial hunting licence;  
  3. Animal kampong licence; and  
  4. Such other licences as may be prescribed.

For plant, collection licences shall be applied for and issued under one of the following categories:

  1. Collector’s plant collection licence;  
  2. Commercial plant collection licence; and  
  3. Such other types of licences as may be prescribed [2].

The rising demand for animal and plant derivatives for use as health supplements in traditional and complementary medicines (T&CM) is one of the major cause of some species becoming threatened and maybe at risk of extinction, and this will certainly caused a dominant effects to the ecosystem as a whole Therefore, such law is required to safeguard these flora and fauna from becoming extinct and to ensure the delicate balance of life is stabilised.

  • Contact Details

Sabah Wildlife Department
5th Floor, B Block, Wisma MUIS,
88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel: (088) 215353, 214442
Fax: (088) 222476


  1. Sabah Wildlife Department. Last accessed on 4th April 2013 at  
  2. Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. Last accessed on 4th April 2013 at