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Monday October 28, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday October 28, 2013 MYT 7:21:43 AM
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is drawing up a new global standard for its palm oil to ensure quality and address concerns of non-government organisations (NGOs) about the industry.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said they were in the final stages of drawing up the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification to improve standards and the image of locally produced palm oil products.
The move is in line with Malaysia’s leading global role as a palm oil producer, he said when opening the Malaysia International Commodity Conference and Showcase at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park in Serdang, near here, yesterday.
The event, which started on Thursday, has drawn more than 50,000 visitors.
Douglas said MSPO certification takes into account 60 local laws, including environment and wildlife legislation along with state enactments.
Citing open burning to clear palm oil plantations, which is totally prohibited by the Department of Environment in the peninsular while allowed but regulated in Sarawak, he said it was an example of local rules which were already in place.
Douglas said many foreign NGOs insisted markets only bought palm oil which met standards set out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) but their criteria were too expensive, especially for Malaysian smallholders.
He said the MSPO would include best agriculture practices and ensure smallholders would not be at a disadvantage.
“We want to help and bring them to the mainstream, so whatever system is imposed should not burden them,” he said.
At the same time, he added, the MSPO would address the impact of the industry on Orang Asli communities, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and the impact on wildlife including the orangutan.
He said the Government shared the same concerns as the NGOs.
“With the MSPO, we can say (to the markets) that ‘we meet your requirements’.
“But we can’t help it if they keep changing the goal post, which could be driven by our international competitors (other cooking oil producers),” he said.
He said Malaysia already had its own international standards for the timber industry and there was no reason why the MSPO should not be internationally accepted.
Douglas said the certification would be brought to the Cabinet for approval within the year before a decision was made on whether it would be made mandatory or voluntary.
He later visited the exhibition, accompanied by ministry secretary-general Datin Paduka Nurmala Abdul Rahim.
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Environment, mspo, palm oil, plantation industries anad commodities
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