PRIMARY Industries Minister Teresa Kok has hit out at an international school over a performance by its students purportedly linking palm oil plantations with the “disappearance” of the orang utan.
Describing the performance as “sowing hatred against palm oil plantations” among the students, Kok said the school associated the industry with deforestation and logging. “I urge the school to stop all actions that are sowing anti-palm oil sentiments among Malaysian students, just like what Europe is doing against our country.
“I also urge the school’s headmaster and the teachers involved to come to my ministry and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council to understand all efforts to improve the industry and to conserve the environment by industry players,” she said.
Referring to overseas protests against the palm oil industry, Kok said she did not expect “such a thing to happen in our international school”.
“To the teachers, please come forward to understand what we are doing instead of criticising us. I think they are doing a disservice to the country.”
A video clip of the performance showed children dressed in environmentally-themed costumes and telling the audience that orang utan in Malaysia were disappearing at an alarming rate due to the production of unsustainable palm oil.
“If we don’t do something about this now and ensure that all palm oil is sustainably grown, within 10 years, these beautiful creatures could be gone from our world forever,” they said.
The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard is mandatory by the end of this year for all producers, including smallholders. It is already mandatory for plantation industries with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification in Dec 31 last year.