Deputy Minister appeals to Sabah govt to allow operations of oil palm plantations

KUALA LUMPUR: For the sake of Sabah’s economy, the state government needs to allow all oil palm plantations and related industries in the state to operate during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, appealed Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Arthur Joseph Kurup (pix).

Arthur, who is also Pensiangan Member of Parliament (MP) said, the National Security Council (NSC) had decided from the beginning of the MCO to allow essential industries such as the agriculture, fisheries and foods to continue to operate.

The decision by the Sabah state government to close down the operation of oil palm plantations and oil palm mills in six districts during the MCO would adversely affect the industry in the state.

“Due to the closure, many (oil palm) farmers will suffer huge losses.

“In the palm industry, it will affect more than 75% of Sabah’s palm oil production and caused nearly 100,000 people to lose their jobs, sources of income and this will affect the state’s economic growth,“ he said in a statement today.

He added this will also cause a reduction in the production of basic foods such as cooking oil and other by-products from the oil palm industry, rubber and others.

“We understand the need to take steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, but we also need to balance this situation with economic needs, including on the people’s sources of income.

“Industries which are authorised to operate (during MCO) must comply with guidelines set by the Health Ministry to ensure the safety of their workers from Covid-19 outbreak,“ he said. — Bernama