International school under probe over anti-palm oil performance


PETALING JAYA: A Kuala Lumpur-based private education institution is under investigation for alleged “anti-palm oil propaganda activities”.

In a statement, the Education Ministry said the probe would be carried out in accordance with the Education Act 1966 (Act 550).

“The ministry will not compromise with any propaganda and indoctrination in private institutions that tarnish the image and name of the country,” said Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin (pic).

He said they took a serious view on the matter, and that the involvement of students was against the country’s policy.

“We will also release a reminder to all international schools to ensure such an incident does not happen again,” he said.

On Tuesday, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok chided the international school for purportedly staging a performance, involving primary school pupils, depicting a protest against oil palm plantations.

She described the performance as “sowing hatred” towards oil palm plantations among the pupils.

A one-minute, 10-second video clip of the performance, uploaded on YouTube, showed children dressed in environmentally-themed costumes giving a presentation about environmental issues surrounding unsustainable oil palm plantations.

The students said orang utan in Malaysia were disappearing at an alarming rate due to the production of unsustainable palm oil.

The performance referenced the controversial “Rang-tan” anti-palm oil cartoon by supermarket chain Iceland Food and Greenpeace UK, which told the story of an orang utan that was forced from the forest to make way for palm oil production.

In November 2018, Kok joined palm oil associations in condemning the Iceland-Greenpeace video campaign as an “unfair and biased political propaganda”.

Facing growing anti-palm oil sentiments from the European Union, a year-long “Love My Palm Oil” campaign was launched in January to fight anti-palm oil campaigns.

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