|KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 . . . . Wildlife authorities in Terengganu and Kelantan
have placed the UMNO Politician in the endangered species list, alongside other threatened
animals such as the Leatherback Turtle and Dugong. Nature conservationists are also
warning that the survival of this species is seriously threatened in other states such as
Kedah and Perlis, with wild populations there halved in just the past year.
ravenous predator has the scientific name Corruptus politicianii umnoensis
but is commonly referred to as the UMNO Politician. It can be found in almost
all parts of Malaysia and large herds previously roamed free in its natural habitats, such
as Parliament and the state assemblies. Its natural diet consists primarily of ringgit
notes and it feeds on public funds, preying mainly on development budgets, mega-project
contracts, tolls, EPF funds, statutory corporations and banks.
However, wild populations of the species have recently been wiped out close to
extinction in the northeastern states of Kelantan and Terengganu. The species had been on
the decline in Kelantan since the 1990 General Elections but their numbers plummeted even
further recently, with only one sorry-looking individual spotted by zoologists wandering
in the jungles of Gua Musang. A particularly odious species of frog recently went extinct
in the state as well.
More dramatically, the species has been virtually wiped out in the state of Terengganu,
despite large herds of the species being present there just weeks ago. Wildlife
surveys have detected more landings of Leatherback Turtles than UMNO Politicians in
Terengganu this year, said Australian wildlife biologist Alan Doogong. Already,
tourists are flocking from all over the world to watch the four rare surviving individuals
left in the state land and nest in the Terengganu State Assembly. There are now plans to
relocate two of the State Assemblymen to Rantau Abang and the other two to Taman Negara.
We do not know what cataclysmic environmental disaster may have caused this
dramatic drop in their populations, Doogong said. We suspect it may be related
to a recent incident of arsenic pollution. But, whatever it was, it has placed the UMNO
Politician squarely at the top of the endangered species list here.
Doogong warned that the species appeared to be threatened in many other parts of
Malaysia, such as Kedah and Perlis. Scientific studies have shown that their
populations have been more than halved in Kedah. Just recently, one of the larger mammals,
the Sanusii junidus umnoensis, was found by a fisherman washed up on a
beach in Langkawi and the poor thing succumbed to its wounds. The future survival of the
species in that State looks bleak indeed.
A related species, the Unscrupulous politiciannus gerakanensis also
appears to be under threat in the nearby state of Penang. Two of the species were lost
recently, due to suspected illegal poaching by another Chinese-based political species.
Doogong noted that wildlife survey statistics have shown at least a 20 percent drop in
UMNO Politician populations nationwide. For every 94 of the species alive last
month, there are only 71 surviving today, he revealed mournfully.
A special Save the UMNO Politician campaign is being mounted by a local
conservation group based at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur. The campaign has
already received generous multi-million ringgit donations from caring local corporations
such as Renong Berhad and Perwaja Steel, in addition to the personal endorsement of the
Prime Minister himself. Malaysia is determined to snatch the UMNO Politician from
the brink of extinction. Conservation efforts, such scare-mongering newspaper
advertisements, will help ensure healthy numbers in Kelantan and Terengganu by the time of
the next General Elections.
However, wildlife conservation organisations seem reluctant to support the campaign.
They are the dinosaurs of the political ecosystem and zoologists are not optimistic
of their long-term survival, Doogong said. And, frankly, this is one species
many people wont mind seeing extinct.