PRIME Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that global perception of Malaysian palm oil is not fair due to biased reporting on environmental destruction is most timely.
Attacks on Malaysian palm oil citing forest destruction, habitat loss and killing of orang utans are totally without facts, as pointed out by the Prime Minister.
Europe should look at their own backyards as they have totally demolished all their forest and animals while Malaysia still has over 50% forest cover. In the case of Sarawak, the state has over 63% of forest cover, as stated recently by the Chief Minister. In fact, Sarawak has the largest forest cover of all the states in Malaysia!
Everyone knows why NGOs in the West are attacking palm oil; it is cheap, nutritious and versatile to use, which makes it a direct competitor to other seed oils in Europe. By demonising palm oil, the NGOs want consumers to stop buying it.
This is actually bad for the world as there would be more destruction of forest and habitat loss if there is increase in demand for soya, rapeseed, sunflower or canola oils.
More land would need to be cleared for planting these less productive oil crops, hence cost would increase for consumers if palm oil is not available.
These days, oil palm planting in Malaysia is only allowed in areas which were previously cultivated. No virgin forest can be used for planting oil palm.
Furthermore, Malaysia’s palm oil is now undergoing certification under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO), which provides consumers assurances that palm oil is produced sustainably in this country.
The relevant agencies are now trying to make known the sustainable practices of our oil palm industry globally.
Malaysians should also be equally proactive in telling the world that our palm oil is for the good of mankind and produced sustainably as one of our truly global products for the world.
PHILIP WONG PAK MING