Call for joint Palm Oil Council with Indonesia

MALAYSIAN

and Indonesian palm oil producers must set up a joint council to

counter anti-palm oil campaigns by Western non-governmental

organisations (NGOs).

Former primary industries minister Tun Dr

Lim Keng Yaik said something must be done by the industries because

most of the time the allegations by these NGOs are half-truths or

outright lies.

“The palm oil industries of both countries are

worth over US$50 billion (RM155 billion) a year, commanding a market

share of 60 per cent of the world’s 17 oils and fats market.

“Naturally, our competitors like the soyabean and rapeseed producers

will not take this sitting down and they will use NGOs like Friends of

the Earth or the World Wildlife Fund to spread lies about our palm oil

industry,” Dr Lim told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday after

opening the Second International Conference on the Future of Palm Oil

business 2010 themed “Is palm oil under threat?”

The council would complement similar moves at the government level

under a 2007 pact between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. The two countries

set up a technical group to mount a palm oil pro-industry campaign in

Europe.

Malaysia’s timber industry did the same in the 1980s to

fight NGOs that claimed illegal cutting and unsustainable industry

practices.

Dr Lim said the palm oil council should be based in

Europe and the US, backed by public relation firms funded by the

industry via a cess collection at a rate of 0.001 per cent of revenue

per company.

“The industry should also appoint an ambassador

who is articulate and participate in all their forums to debate the

NGOs with well researched facts and figures on our side and pay him a

monthly salary of US$20,000 (RM62,000) a month,” he said.

Dr

Lim argued that Western edible oil producers cannot use trade

protectionist measures anymore. Therefore, they have been using NGOs to

attack Malaysia and Indonesia under the guise of environmental concerns.

Source : Business Times

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