Discriminating against M'sian palm oil on food labels now an arrestable offence, says Deputy Minister

Datuk Rosol Wahid- Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: An amendment was passed by Dewan Rakyat to make it an arrestable offence to "discriminate against or boycott" Malaysian palm oil, says Datuk Rosol Wahid.

"With the expansion of the scope of Act 730 (Trade Descriptions Act 2011), statements, expressions or indications against Malaysia’s major commodities, such as the expression “no palm oil” used in any advertisement including food labels, notices and catalogues will be prohibited," the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister said when tabling the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Act 2021 in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Oct 28).

He said the amendments were targeted at those who promote anti-palm oil sentiments in their product description.

Among the amendments were to Section 5 on prohibition of false trade descriptions, which makes it an arrestable offence.

Individuals convicted under the Section can face a fine of up to RM100,000 or up to three years' jail.

Also made into an arrestable offence are those involving false or misleading statements in relation to contests or games under Section 20.

This applies where there are no prizes or services offered through the contest or game, or that there are costs for claiming the alleged prize.

Those convicted under this provision can face penalties of a maximum fine of up to RM250,000, three years' jail, or both.

On a separate matter, Rosol informed the House that the case involving the "meat cartel" was still ongoing, and would come up for hearing between January and March next year.

He was responding to a question raised on the issues, particularly with regard to sensitivity among Muslims with regard to the halal status of imported meat.

On May 24 this year, four Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) assistant enforcement officers and a logistics company owner were charged at the Sessions Court for allegedly being involved in a meat cartel between 2016 and December last year.

On a separate matter, Rosol said a total of 9,650 non-bumiputra companies had applied for the halal certification since 2020.

This, he noted, was far more than the 3,822 applications submitted by bumiputra companies.

He said this showed that local businesses were aware of the importance of obtaining the certification.

The Bill was later passed by a voice vote.

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