Parliament (MPs) are impressed with the palm oil industry’s contribution
towards creating wealth and economic growth for Malaysia.
Danish MP Dan Jorgensen, who is Vice-Chairman of the Environment
Committee and Member of the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists
and Democrats in the European Parliament said: “We think palm oil has
contributed towards creating wealth and the growth of the country.
“As a whole, I think, it has helped take people out of poverty, which
is a very positive thing.
“The challenge now is the sustainability of the commodity.Even though
progress has been made, there is still the possibility of becoming
better in this area,” he said after a Stakeholder Roundtable Discussion
on Issues Related to Biodiversity and the Sustainability of Malaysian
Palm Oil here last Friday.
Jorgensen was on a week-long visit to Malaysia together with two other
EU MPs, Martin J. Callanan (Committee on the Environment, Public Health
and Food Safety) and Ole K Christensen (Member of the ACP-EU Committee).
Also present at the roundtable was Malaysia’s Ambassador to the EU
Datuk Hussein Haniff and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Chief
Executive Officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron.
Jorgensen said the next decade would continue to see an increase in the
focus on sustainability, as a competition criteria on the global stage,
whether for fuel food or any other commodity.
“We also think that from the sustainability point of view, palm oil has
great potential compared to other oils,” he added.
Many have voiced concerned concern over the new sustainability criteria
in the European Union (EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED), due to
come into force from Dec 5 this year and its impact on palm oil
exporting countries like Malaysia.
On that matter, Jorgensen expressed the willingness of MPs to assist
Malaysia in ensuring there is no discrimination against the country’s
palm oil export to the region.
“Firstly, we do not want any discrimination at all of the palm oil
sector. We have promised our friends in the industry here to help them
in discussions that we have in the EU on different criteria.
“If there has been any discrimination, we will do everthing possible to
“Secondly, we are at the same time, very committed to the
sustainability criteria,” he explained.
The sustainability criteria is related to two issues, the lifecycle
greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels and the land used to produce the
During their stay in Malaysia, the MPs had the opportunity to visit the
Felda Trolak land scheme.
According to Jorgensen, the Malaysian palm oil industry can help itself
by making the issues surrounding it irrelevant, by starting to trap the
methane in the mills.
“It is already being done in some mills. If it was done in general and
there was legislation for this, it would help. But this is just a
recommendation,” he said.
Christensen also noted that in many parts of western Europe, there was
the perception that palm oil is a bad thing because rainforests’ are
being destroyed in order to make way for plantations.
“That’s what many people believe.So, we are very gratified to get
assurances here, that Malaysia has very strict laws in place to ensure
no more forests are destroyed,” he said.
He also said that it was a challenge to get this point of view across
to a lot of western audiences.
When asked whether if the RED would affect Malaysian palm oil exports
to the EU, Callanan said in the short term, the new directive would not.
He said this was because the amount of Malaysian palm oil used for
biofuel is very small.
Callanan said only 18 per cent of Malaysia’s palm oil exports actually
go to the EU.
“Obviously, we understand your concerns that the EU legislation might
spread to other countries that Malaysia exports to.But only two per cent
of palm oil is used for biofuels,” he added.
Source : BERNAMA by Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah