Minister mulls legal action as more 'turtle egg' pictures surface

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Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob is incensed after more pictures from a dinner where turtle egg was served, was published online.

Commenting on the recent photographs, Ismail Sabri said he will take legal action against those circulating the pictures.

"I will get in touch with my lawyer to look into this," he told Malaysiakini.

Danau Girang Field Centre, a research and training facility in Sabah, uploaded four pictures of the minister eating at the controversial dinner in Sandakan, Sabah in August on its Facebook page last night.

“Looking at the four pictures below downloaded from 'Walai Penyu Resort Libaran' Facebook page and shared by ‘Deadturtle Sabah’, it seems that the turtle eggs were actually consumed by the same people who said they did not," Danau Girang Field Centre said.

These pictures show a small plate of turtle eggs in front of Ismail Sabri while his own plate appears to show an egg that is broken in half.

In his statement early this month, the minister denied having eaten turtle eggs as the eggs have a high cholesterol content. Ismail Sabri said he only ate fish at the dinner.

Conservationists slammed Ismail Sabri after a photograph of him at the dinner in Sandakan in August, where turtle eggs were served, went viral on the internet.

Served during the dinner with Beluran Umno chief James Ratib was a large lobster and what looked like a couple of dozens of turtle eggs.

However, the Umno division chief told the The Star that he did not know what type of eggs they were.

The Sabah government is investigating the matter.

Harvesting of turtle eggs is allowed under strict and limited licensing on the east coast of the peninsula, but it is illegal in Sabah under the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997.

Those guilty of harvesting, selling or consuming turtle eggs in the state can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed for five years or both.

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