Dec 5, 1999

 
UMNO Politicians placed on endangered species list

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.

This 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 won’t mind seeing extinct.”

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