The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (DWNP/PERHILITAN) was formerly known as the Game Department. The first law pertaining to wildlife was declared in 1896. The first wildlife reserve, Chior Wildlife Reserve was gazetted in 1902. Efforts to create a central agency to coordinate wildlife and habitat conservation activities was initiated in 1930 with the appointment of T.R. Hubback, the former Game Warden of Pahang as the Chief of the Wildlife Commission of Malaya.
Two major actions were undertaken based on the recommendations by the Wildlife Commission of Malaya Report of 1932:-
- The formation of the Game Department headquarters in 1936 with the appointment of Captain Ritchie as the first Chief Game Warden; and
- The formation of King George V National Park in 1938/9 encompassing Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu with an area 4,343 sq km
In 1955, the Federal Government introduced a new legislation, "The Wild Animals and Wild Birds Protection Ordinance", to coordinate the enforcement of wildlife protection in Peninsular Malaysia. However, the administration of state DWNPs were still under the respective State Governments. Between of 1972 and 1976, the Federal Government, after consulting with the State Governments, federalized the administration of all states Game Department in Peninsular Malaysia following the enactment of the Protection of Wildlife Act in 1972. The Game Department was later known as the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN).