THE campaign against palm oil is multifaceted. It includes not only spreading negative ideas about palm oil around the world, but also attacking anyone who dares to tell the positive story.
The environmental activists who form this campaign against palm oil act like “Green Police”. They are always ready to quash anything positive said about palm oil anywhere in the world.
These Green Police will say anything in an attempt to discredit anyone who disagrees with them. They often inhabit hidden corners of the Internet and spread their attacks via social media.
The Malaysian Palm Oil industry is one of their top targets. We have over the years seen that these Green Police will do anything to keep out the positive story of Malaysian palm oil.
The “No Deforestation” campaign from The Forest Trust (TFT) that excludes Sarawak small farmers from the market is one such example.
This is a campaign that is squarely aimed at limiting the success of this country’s palm oil sector.
Others try “shock tactics”, such as the Greenpeace activists who scale buildings in media-friendly stunts while others like World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sinisterly claim to support palm oil while moving to limit its production.
Even some governments are involved. The European Union has for decades funded NGOs who lobby against Malaysian palm oil farmers. Yes, the Green Police can be found everywhere.
One of the more sinister voices in the Green Police, however, is focused right here on our country, and our great people.
Her name is Clare Rewcastle-Brown and she is related to the former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
She runs a website called the Sarawak Report from her comfortable berth in London, many miles away from the reality on the ground here in Malaysia.
She has expended much energy in attacking Sarawak and recently joined the campaign against the small farmers who cultivate and produce oil palm in Sarawak.
This is obviously sad, but let’s examine why she has done this.
Brown is a committed Green activist whose end goal is zero development, and therefore, zero poverty reduction and zero improvement of the lives of ordinary rural folk across Malaysia. This was the attitude of the 19th century European colonist, and it has no place in modern 21st century Malaysia.
Brown has consistently been anti-palm oil and anti-small farmer and she trades only in insults and innuendo.
Her campaign against palm oil hurts many hundreds of thousands across Malaysia, and is an attempt to undermine a genuine Malaysian success story.
This is unacceptable and deserves a strong response from all Malaysians.
The UK’s Foreign Office is one of the European Governments that has spent substantial money in recent years funding Green activists and others who have launched attacks against Malaysian small farmers.
This must stop, and so must the campaigns from politically-connected activists such as Brown.
The truth is that small farmers and villagers from across Malaysia have seen their lives improved through their own hard work, and through the wise decisions taken by the Government.
The 300,000 small farmers of Malaysia are better off, and more prosperous, than before.
Brown’s article is insulting to small farmers who have worked all their lives to achieve a better standard of living. Tens of thousands of Sarawak’s small farmers have benefited from the policies of this Government, and of SALCRA.
The truth is that the Sarawak Report is not interested in what is best for the small farmers and the rural folk. Simply, Gordon Brown’s sister is interested only in attacking us.
Small farmers across Malaysia have a right to plant oil palm, to pursue development, and to achieve prosperity.
In her article, Brown mocks the small farmers for buying a car: why does she think that the rural folk should not have cars?
This is patronising and elitist. These prejudices are not welcome in modern Malaysia, where development and personal achievements are celebrated.
The words from Sarawak Report are similar to other anti-development campaigns that have been active in Malaysia recently, from Green NGOs such as The Forest Trust, WWF and Greenpeace.
Each time, with each of these groups, small farmers are a target, and we will inevitably be hurt by the campaigns of these Green Police.
As CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, I am proud to defend our record of success and achievement. Those who attack and insult our companies and small farmers are not welcome, and should not be given credibility or support.
TAN SRI DR YUSOF BASIRON
CEO, Malaysian Palm Oil Council