JOHOR BARU, Aug 23 — The Johor Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) seized a total of 59,600 ornamental plants worth RM119,200 that were attempted to be smuggled in from China at the Pasir Gudang Port yesterday.
The ornamental plants of various species were seized as the importers did not have an import permit.
A Johor Maqis spokesman said that the seizure was made following a routine inspection of a container carried out by the agency’s enforcement officer at 4pm.
He said among the species seized were cactus gymnocalycium, spathiphyllum wallisii, caladium, echeveria pinweel, microsorum punctatum, asparagus racemosus, strobilanthes sinuate and adenium.
“Initial investigations found that the items were attempted to be brought into the country without a valid import permit,” said the spokesman in a statement today.
The spokesman said the case is being investigated under Section 11 (1) of the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Act 2011 (Act 728) for importing without a permit, license or certificate issued under the Act.
“Upon conviction, those found guilty can be fined a maximum of RM100,000 or jailed for a maximum of six years or both and for the second or subsequent offense a maximum fine of RM150,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or both.
“Maqis reminds all importers and exporters to always adhere to the rules set by the government so that the control of animal diseases, fish, plants and food safety will be maintained,” he said.
Of late, the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry, through Maqis, has been stepping up its enforcement to curb the smuggling of such plants into Malaysia to prevent the entry and spread of pests, diseases and invasive species that could disrupt the existing ecosystem in the country.