He said the punishment on the offence should also be increased as the present law had failed to deter poachers especially foreigners harvesting the endangered marine creatures although the present law provides for harsh punishment.
"In Sabah, turtles are a totally protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 managed by the Sabah Wildlife Department.
"The offence carries a fine of not less than RM50,000 and up to RM250,000 and maximum five years' imprisonment," he said in a statement today.
In the latest case on Wednesday (Feb 6), Malaysian Armed Forces Joint Task Force 2 (ATB 2) soldiers detained three foreigners catching and killing turtles in the waters of Pulau Ligitan off Semporna, as reported by a news portal.
Lee also urged the government to look into having uniform laws that protect turtles all over Malaysia as states currently enforced their regulations including those on illegal trade and the ban on turtle egg consumption.
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF Malaysia) in its analysis and experience on the ground showed that state laws governing turtles were inadequate and unable to protect turtles which were being hunted for their meat and shells in the international black market.