Orang utans are considered a critically endangered species and its population had declined severely due to human activities such as poaching, habitat destruction and deforestation and the illegal pet trade.
In an effort to preserve the species, several conservation and rehabilitation organisations are dedicated to the survival of orangutans in the wild.
Recently, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had made a stunning comment on orang utans and she soon find herself receiving huge criticisms from netizens.
The minister had claimed that orang utans “would kill people first” if they encounter humans. Apparently, she made this erroneous claim as part of her strategy to fight fire with fire, as she combats the increasing criticism against the local palm oil industry.
In a viral video, Zuraida can be seen giving a speech where she mentioned that while she was on her umrah pilgrimage, the minister found out that Arab schools still have books that are casting a negative light on palm oil, because “kita bunuh orang utan (we kill the orang utan)”.
It is believed that she was referring to claims by both international and local wildlife conservation organisations that palm oil plantations are exacerbating deforestation and destroying the habitats of already endangered species, including orang utans.
“I told him, in Malaysia, if you see orangutans, orangutans will kill you first. Not we kill the orangutans first.” she said, adding that the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has procedures to remove orang utans, instead of killing them.
Netizens were quick to point out how the minister was misinformed and obviously is ignorant about the drop in the orangutan population.
Some also joked about the fact that she mentioned lions in her speech, which is a species that is only native to sub-Saharan Africa and India, not Malaysia.
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