Move to barter palm oil with Arab countries

  • Nation
  • Monday, 19 Jan 2009

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is looking to barter palm oil with fertiliser ingredients from Arab-speaking countries to ease the burden of plantation owners.

Primary Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said barter trading would provide another option for estate owners if countries like Morocco, Jordan, Iran and Syria could offer reasonable prices for such ingredients.

“Currently, we are sourcing the ingredients from Canada and Russia. We want to see if other countries can offer us better prices under barter trading.

“We are working closely with the Fertiliser Industry Association Malaysia to get the best price available for Malaysia,” he told reporters after a dialogue with the Malaysian Estate Owners Association council members yesterday.

On estate owners’ proposal to revoke the Windfall Profit Levy (Oil Palm Fruit) Order 2008, Chin said it was the prerogative of the Finance Ministry to decide whether to abolish the tax or otherwise. “The ministry is considering the pros and cons and will arrange a meeting between estate owners and the Finance Minister to discuss the matter,” he said.

A statement from the estate owners’ association said the levy was grossly inequitable and unfair.

“The singling out of the palm oil industry for the imposition of the Windfall Tax seems to be based on the perception that oil palm growers are making excessive profits when the crude palm oil price rises above RM2,000 per tonne.

“Under the present high cost of production, profit margins are very slim in estates with large areas of replanting and new plants. Many are even facing losses,” said the statement.

Later when asked whether he had voted to approve the building of the proposed low-cost carrier terminal in Labu which would see almost 300,000 oil palm trees on 809ha of land felled, Chin said: “This is not the issue but it is about whether we want the airport to be built or not.”

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