Malaysian government is serious about addressing the challenges of the palm oil industry

Source:  Bernama

The Malaysian government is serious in resolving the issues surrounding the palm oil industry in the country, said Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

The issues, particularly environmental and social issues, could affect the RM102 billion export potential when the country produces between 18.5 tonnes and 18.6 tonnes of crude palm oil.

This would go back to both the federal and state governments which are benefitting from the industry in terms of tax collection, almost one million people who are employed by the industry and 450,000 smallholders throughout the country.

“You know we are facing a big issue now in the world. You never see it last time but in the past 15 years people are talking about environment everywhere you go.

“If we can’t address the issue of environment we will be affected. That is why the government is to audit (under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme),” he said when opening Sarawak Oil Palms’ (SOP) Refinery and Fractionation Plant 2 at the Kidurong Industrial Estate Area Phase 2 here today.

Johari said Malaysia should not be penalised if the country had been found to be not in compliance with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) principles and criteria.

“I have always stressed to the European Union’s representatives whenever I have the opportunity to talk to them that if they are upset with issues in Malaysia, they should work with us closely on how to make a country like us a benchmark to the world on edible oil.

“Because for every hectare of land that we use, we can produce 3.3 million tonnes of edible oil compared to soy oil, rapeseed oil or sunflower oil that can only produce less than one tonne per hectare of edible oil,” he said.

He added that Malaysia is willing to sit down with the representatives and discuss on how to improve and become an example for the world in edible oil production.

He said palm oil production is an important industry in Malaysia which could boost the country’s economy through its upstream and downstream activities.

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