The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (SOPPOA) Council members recently met up with Malaysian Primary Industries (MPI) Minister, Mdm. Teresa Kok in Kuching in conjunction with her visit to the Chief Minister of Sarawak and concurred with the ministry on various matters discussed. These include the moratorium on new state land for oil palm planting in Sarawak, providing assistance to smallholders throughout the state and more R&D activities in Sarawak to improve yields.
“Foremost, SOPPOA is thankful to the MPI Minister for her tireless efforts to explain to the European Union (EU) on reasons why palm oil should not be banned as a feedstock for biofuel after 2030 in EU. The Ministry’s efforts and determination in the matter had been headlines news in Malaysia and elsewhere as the proposed ban by EU parliament is nothing short of discriminatory and without scientific evidence or support,” stated a representative from SOPPOA. It is also heartening to note that the Sarawak state government is also fully in support of the MPI effort in ensuring that palm oil will not be banned for biofuel in Europe.
SOPPOA also fully suport the federal and state governments’ stance that there will be a moratorium on new oil palm planting in state lands in Sarawak; in fact, the state government had since 2016, announced that there will be no new state land for oil palm planting. More importantly, SOPPOA members are open to providing smallholders and others assistance in ensuring that their activities will be sustainable as the palm oil industry in Sarawak is moving towards certification under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard. By being sustainably produced with MSPO, all palm oil produced from Sarawak can be certified which will ensure that our smallholders and others will enjoy better livelihood and prosperity throughout the state. SOPPOA also urges the government to urgently look into the issue of workers shortage in the industry which is a major handicap here.
On the topic of R&D activities in Sarawak, SOPPOA expressed that more need to be done to improve yields(3.12 tonnes/ha) here which is below the national average (3.42 tonnes/ha). With research and better yields, the productivity in Sarawak can increase substantially and towards this end, SOPPOA is working in close collaboration with MPI and Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) on topics of nutrition, fruit sets, pest control and others. The palm oil industry in Sarawak is fully supportive of the federal and state governments’ efforts to ensure that the industry will continue to flourish and bring greater developments to the nation and state.
SOPPOA has also elected new office bearers for the 2019 – 2021 term at its recent Annual General Meeting held on 19th March 2019 in Kuching. The new Council office bearers list is as below:
Chairman – Tiong Chiong Ong
1st Vice Chairman – Dato Sri Lau Kiu Kiong
2nd Vice Chairman – Iswandi Bin Ayub
Secretary – Dato’ Ha Tiung Noon
Deputy Secretary – Mo Ping Ping
Treasurer – William Yii Hee Poh
Deputy Treasurer – Daniel Ding Huong Chen