KUALA SELANGOR: Malaysia and Indonesia will retaliate against countries including the European Union (EU) which boycott palm oil, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib said he had discussed with Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the ASEAN Summit in Manila recently, that Malaysia and Indonesia, through the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC), would convince those countries that the negative claims against palm oil are totally baseless.
“We must tell them (countries that are boycotting palm oil), that Malaysia and Indonesia are not countries that do not have capabilities, we also buy many products from them.
“… and whoever is boycotting palm oil is likely to face retaliation from Malaysia and Indonesia,” he stressed in his speech when launching the 100 year celebration of the National Oil Industry at the Tennamaram Plantation in Bestari Jaya here today.
Also present were the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Mah Siew Keong, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar, Sime Darby Bhd chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman and Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.
Najib also outlined five transformation shifts which must be done to ensure the future of the palm oil industry is more outstanding in the coming 100 years, among others introducing the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Scheme (MSPO).
“Today, the national oil palm industry is faced with many challenges, accusations and negative perceptions from several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the supposedly unsustainable development of oil palm crops, polluting the environment and causing deforestation to our country.
“Therefore, to address this issue, in particular allegations on the issue of sustainability, the government has taken proactive steps by introducing MSPO will be made mandatory from Dec 31, 2019. It will also take care of the interests of the oil palm industry and our exports to the developed countries,” he said.
In addition, the prime minister said investment also needed to be done in research, development and commercialisation in supporting the development of the oil industry; focusing on and strengthening human capital development; targeting more professionals to venture into the field of oil palm and provision of funds for new planting of oil palms and replanting schemes.
“So in front of more than 5,000 attendees this evening, I am pleased to announce an additional allocation of RM510 million for smallholders’ oil palm replanting scheme and new smallholders oil palm planting scheme for a period of three years. For 2017, the government approves an additional allocation of RM130 million as requested by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities,” he said.
At the same event, the prime minister also received the National Palm Oil Industry Development Figure Award on behalf of his father, Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
The award was given to Abdul Razak on his huge deeds and contributions to the development of the sector to simultaneously change the social and economic landscape of society in the country.
The award to Abdul Razak was also due to his success in the setting up of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), which is a key component in efforts to accelerate development and eradicate poverty in rural areas.
At the same time, Najib also presented four awards, namely, Smallholders Special Award, First Government Oil Palm Scheme Special Award, First Commercial Oil Palm Plantation Award and the Palm Oil Industry Founder Award to Malaysia´s First Oil Palm Plantation Founder, the late Henri Fauconnier, which was received by his great grandson Jeremie Fontaine.
At the function, Najib also announced an allocation of RM4 million to build Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Ladang Tennamaram and a hall.
Tennamaram, is the first commercial oil palm plantation in Malaysia which first opened in 1917 by Fauconnier.