BRUSSELS: Malaysians should cooperate to defend palm oil specifically, and agricommodities products at large, against unjust regulations, says Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
"We all must stand tall, fly high and be proud of our very own Malaysian agricommodities and products. Going forward, all of us have to ‘work hand in glove’ strategically. ‘Hand in glove’ means to work in an extremely close relationship or agreement.
"It is my sincere hope that our dear Malaysian diaspora here in Brussels and all over the world could be our ambassadors to promote and share the right information about our agricommodities products,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
Fadillah, who is also Plantation and Commodities Minister, said this at a luncheon with Malaysian diaspora in Brussels, which is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, including its administrative-legislative, executive-political, and legislative branches.
Malaysians need to continuously share and promote the health benefits of the country’s sustainable palm oil, which is an excellent source of tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E with strong antioxidants in keeping the immune system healthy, good for brain health, and helps reduce the risk of heart disease, he added.
"To stand out in the fight, we need more than words,” he said, adding that besides palm oil, there are also many success stories from other commodities.
"Our local cocoa beans champions have won awards internationally over the years for quality and taste, and we need you to convey the authenticity of our renowned Sarawak pepper, which has been awarded with a Geographical Indication (GI) status for its specific geographical origin with detailed information of the pepper qualities.
"As such, I would encourage each and every one of you to actively promote our treasures here in the land of Brussels or across the globe,” he said.
Fadillah’s mission to the EU is a joint mission with the Indonesian government under the Council of Palm Producing Countries (CPOPC).
On Feb 9, 2023, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Fadillah and Dr Airlangga Hartarto, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, mutually agreed to protect the interests of the palm oil sector by strengthening efforts in dealing with the discrimination against palm oil.
This is in response to the implementation of the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), announced by the EU on Dec 6, 2022, which aims at preventing deforestation due to agricultural activities.
Joining him in his first visit to Europe since taking office were Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman Mohamed Helmy Othman Basha, Malaysian Palm Oil Council chairman Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen, as well as Sarawak’s Deputy Minister of Town Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh.
Also present was Malaysia’s Ambassador to Belgium Datuk Ahmad Rozian Abd Ghani. - Bernama