The proposed EU (European Union) Act that will restrict usage of palm-biofuel is both discriminatory and unjustified environmental regulations aimed at Malaysia’s palm oil exports to EU markets stated palm oil smallholders in Malaysia. The group representing Felcra, Felda and National Association of Smallholders protested against the EU proposal and handed a petition to the Head of EU Delegation to Malaysia recently. SOPPOA (Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association) fully supports the petition and calls on EU to retract the proposal which is nothing more than a bullying tactic against palm oil export to EU markets.
If the EU is so concerned about environmental sustainability, then they must be equally responsible by planting forest back in their countries; they have cleared almost all of their natural forests and used them for cattle and other oil seeds cultivations which are even more unsustainable than oil palm cultivation. The proposed EU Act is therefore a discriminatory move to prevent palm oil from competing with their low yield productions of rapeseed, soya beans and sunflower cultivation. The other risk from the ban on palm oil for bio-fuel is that palm oil could eventually be banned from other food processing as well. Based on the proposed EU Act, their agricultural activities like cattle farming and beans cultivations are classified as low risk while oil palm cultivation is considered high risk when oil palm is at least four times more productive than other oil seeds. This is nothing more than bullying tactic and pure discrimination on the part of the EU; the scientific data clearly points to the superiority of palm oil to all other oil seed cultivations and Malaysian palm oil is moving towards sustainability certification by end of 2019.
The EU proposal in allowing smallholders of less than 2 hectares each to be exempted is nothing more than a ‘gimmick’ to try and appease smallholders, stated Nageeb Abdul Wahab, Felcra Chairman. Such a move is aimed at making the EU proposal look not discriminating against smallholders but actually is without scientific basis and trying to instigate one group of planters against another in Malaysia. Such a blatant and underhand move by EU is pure rhetoric and gamesmanship of the lowest kind which they have been using during colonial times. A small landowner in modern Malaysia will surely wonder why in his own backyard he is not allowed to plant oil palm to improve his family’s livelihood whereas the EU farmer can plant rapeseed or rear cattle without restrictions. What or who gives the EU farmer the rights to develop his land (clearing the forest previously there) for cattle or rapeseed farming but Asian landowners cannot improve their economic wellbeing by planting oil palms. Is such a blatant discriminatory act to be acceptable in our modern era? We are no longer colonists of the EU and we have equal rights to improve our people just as those in EU countries and we certainly have every right to improve ourselves. Today, Malaysians and Asians are too smart for such tactics and EU should look at their own backyard and do what they are trying to preach – if they able to cut forests for their own benefits to suit cattle farming and oil seed cultivations, why is planting oil palm not allowed for Asian progress and development of their countries. As the saying goes, don’t point a finger at others as four other fingers are pointing at yourself. The EU must retract the proposed Act for banning palm oil from bio-fuel in EU markets or face possible retaliatory actions from Asian countries in response and even going to the WTO (World Trade Organization) to nullify the Act as discriminatory and without scientific backings.