KOTA KINABALU: Another push by Malaysia to convince members of the European Parliament to rethink a proposed curb on palm oil imports may be fruitless.
Putatan MP Datuk Marcus Mojigoh said the European Parlia-ment appeared to be determined to ratify the Palm Oil and Deforestation of the Rainforests resolution it initially passed on April 4.
Marcus, who was part of a bi-partisan parliamentary committee that spent nine days in Brussels talking to European Parliament counterparts, said the feedback he received was that they would proceed with ratifying the resolution by the middle or end of November.
European Union countries then need to individually endorse this resolution before it is enforced as early as next year, he said.
“I’m angry and upset that the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are determined to proceed with this.
“They know that we have stringent laws on deforestation that are strictly enforced and many of them have been to Malaysia,” he added.
He said the bi-partisan parliamentary panel explained at length Malaysia’s agriculture, forestry and environmental policies to MEPs in Brussels from Oct 13 to 21.
Malaysia, he said, would have to consider legal action, including taking its case to the World Court, if the resolution was continued.
Malaysia’s exports of palm oil and palm products to the EU were valued at RM10.23bil last year, which accounted for 15% of the total exports.
On April 4, the European Parliament adopted the resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestration of the Rainforests, which among other things, calls for a single certified sustainable palm oil scheme for exports of palm oil to Europe, based on the premise that oil palm development is one of the main drivers of deforestation and climate change.
The resolution also calls for the phasing out of palm oil from EU biofuel programmes by 2020.
Previously, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, who described the resolution as unfair, had said that contrary to claims, deforestation was not just caused by oil palm cultivation.
In the case of Malaysia, the activity occupies 5.74 million hectares or 17% of the land area, he noted.
Mah said the EU had argued that it wanted to implement a single certification policy for palm oil because certification issued by other countries was flawed.