KUALA LANGAT: European nations are feigning concern that planting oil palm adversely affects the environment, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic).
The Prime Minister said that in actual fact, these nations were more concerned about making money.
"They say they love animals but I think it is money that they really love.
"Palm oil is cheap as opposed to the oil they sell like soy bean oil," said Dr Mahathir at the Love MY Palm Oil campaign organised by the Primary Industries Ministry at the Sime Darby Plantations in Carey Island near here on Sunday (March 24).
He said European countries alleged that palm oil is bad for health because the product competes against the oil they produce.
"The truth is their oil cannot compete with our palm oil as we can get oil for 25 years once planted.
"But their crops like soy have to be planted yearly as they can get oil only once (per crop)," said Dr Mahathir.
He added it was also not fair for these countries to vilify palm oil by labelling their food products as being palm oil free.
He said if Malaysian oil palm plantations were shut down because of this propaganda, some 600,000 people would be out of jobs.
"They want to sacrifice poor Malaysians to protect the animals they profess to care for," said Dr Mahathir.
He said if they don't want to buy palm oil, they just have to say so instead of making baseless allegations.
He said these countries also felt threatened as Malaysia is producing biofuel with palm oil for diesel vehicles.
He said Malaysia can retaliate by not buying certain products sold by countries that "criminalised" palm oil.
Dr Mahathir clarified at a press conference later that Malaysia can only boycott some but not all products from these nations.
"We have to retaliate against the war on palm oil because we have to protect our country's wealth," he said.
Meanwhile, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok called upon Malaysians to take pride in the nation's palm oil.
"It is time for us to educate the world about palm oil but before that, we have to educate Malaysians on its benefits," she said.