PUTRAJAYA: The Primary Industries Ministry is working towards sustainable oil palm cultivation to show the world that oil palm plantations, wildlife conservation and forestry can coexist in Malaysia.
Its Minister Teresa Kok said the government was also working hard to encourage oil palm growers to obtain the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification (MSPO) and reforestation efforts by planting one million trees at the Pin Supu Forest Reserve in Sabah.
“To counter false accusations, we must work hard on the MSPO because we want our growers to follow good agriculture practices and show the world that in planting (oil palm), we abide by the law and international practices,“ she told reporters after the prize giving ceremony for the “Love MY Palm Oil 90 Short Film” contest, here today.
Also present was IOI Corp Bhd’s group managing director and chief executive, Datuk Lee Yeow Chor, who is also chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.
Kok said people, particularly from Europe, should come to Malaysia to observe the oil palm plantations and best efforts to protect wildlife.
“Many decision makers in Europe have never visited this part of the region or Malaysia and Indonesia. They make decisions based on hearsay and what non-governmental organisations state. They should come and see themselves,“ she added.
Kok said Malaysian palm oil is well-known for its high quality, consistent and uninterrupted supply and sustainable practices.
“Despite all its contributions, the palm oil industry is continuously linked to deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
“Anti-palm oil campaigns, misconstrued facts and trade protectionism on domestically produced oils, particularly in the European Union, have misled the European Parliament to phase out the use of palm-based biofuel in the transportation sector by 2030,“ she said.
Therefore, Kok said the Malaysian government through her ministry and supported by other ministries and agencies would continue to engage with the European stakeholders to counter the false allegations concerning palm oil with credible scientific facts to ward off the threat that affects trade in it.
Meanwhile, Lee also agreed with Kok’s statement that many people lacked understanding on Malaysia’s palm oil industry and should observe it for themselves.
He pointed out the recent visit by British actress Dame Judi Dench to Sabah to film a documentary, and discovered how complex the palm oil industry was and the communities that depends on it for their livelihood.
It was reported, Judi felt thankful that there are all sorts of ways of working together to protect what’s left of the forest, and help animals survive in a changing environment.
Judi was in Sabah to film a two-part series for “ITV : Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure”, and explored Danum Valley, the Lower Kinabatangan and Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center.
Lee said palm oil is the national commodity responsible for the livelihood of 650,000 oil palm smallholders and had made enormous economic contribution to the country and the world.
On the contest, seven winners were selected out of 70 videos submitted on a creative 90-second short film on palm oil.
The first prize of RM10,000 was won by Izzudin Saedon with his short film titled, “The Environmentalist”, with the second prize of RM5,000 bagged by Sashvin Raj Batumalai with his video, “Earth Year 2576”.
Azmi Hud walked away with the third prize of RM2,500 with his entry, “Hari-Hari Seorang Pemalas”. — Bernama