Since it has been argued that there are linkages between ecotourism and bio piracy, the big question is whether the Malaysian environmental laws are adequate in protecting biological resources and TK from bio piracy? Indeed, Malaysia is actively involved in negotiations related to the development of the international regime on ABS. Malaysia aims to have a national law on ABS in place to implement the provisions of Article 15 of the CBD (which deals with access to genetic resources) and the related provisions in the Nagoya Protocol.
This will further strengthen Malaysia’s ability to deal with emerging issues in biodiversity, alongside the Biosafety Act which was passed in 2007. However, the Biosafety Act which seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms is silent on the subject of ABS and TK. Although no national ABS law currently exists, however, under Section 4 of the Forestry Act 1984, the State Forestry Director is empowered by the State Authority to control the removal of plants or resources from the forest.
In addition, under 2 Ecotourism and Bio piracy: A Legal Perspective … 15 Section 34 of the Act, researchers have to apply for a license in order to carry out research activities in a permanent forest reserve.
The Sarawak state government is the first country in the Federation of Malaysia to adopt access legislation of plant genetic resources in the form of the Sarawak Biodiversity (Access, Collection and Research) Regulations 1998
which is in line with the CBD Interest and value in having ABS in Sabah are somewhat evident in the provisions of the Sabah Biodiversity Enactment 2000 (SBE 2000). Available resources to formulate and implement its ABS system lie in the SBE 2000, its institutional elements (Sabah Biodiversity Council/Sabah Biodiversity Centre) and Biodiversity Centre Fund.
Their proactive positions determined by the fact that some of Malaysia’s richest biodiversity are found in these two states.