Malaysia will take a consultative approach, rather than confrontational, in dealing with anti-palm oil campaign, the Dewan Rakyat was told Monday.
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said that the country would rather held discussions with other edible oil producers than confronting anti-palm oil lobbyists.
He added that Malaysia did not regard producers of soy oil, rapeseed oil and corn oil as adversaries.
“What we want to do is to tell them that we are their friend and that it is better for us to sit together and discuss our respective strengths,” he said when winding up the debate on the Supplementary Supply Bill 2010 today.
Hamzah said Malaysia and Indonesia as well as other palm oil producing countries were working together in tackling anti-palm oil campaign launched by environmental activists and non-governmental organisations in the West which was aimed at blocking palm oil imports.
He said that the success of the palm oil industry in Malaysia and in other countries posed a stiff competition to other edible oil producers.
“They employ all kinds of tactics, either in the form of tariff or non-tariff barrier, to keep palm oil at bay,” he said.
Hamzah said that Malaysia, through the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), had carried out various activities to address the issue, including disseminating information on the sustainability of its palm oil industry through websites such as the www.mpoc.org.my.
“The MPOC has also taken up advertisements and aired documentaries on the sustainability of the Malaysian palm oil industry on various television channels, including CNBC and Bloomberg,” he said.
The MPOC also carried out various activities including financing research related to palm oil especially on its benefit to health, organising working visits headed by the minister and holding dialogues with non-governmental organisations.
“Through these programmes, the ministry hopes that there will be more facts on the sustainability of the palm oil industry and its benefits to health can be disseminated to the international community, and that the baseless allegations against the industry would taper off over the long term,” he said.
Hamzah said that an initial allocation of RM24.1 million and another RM10 million for next year would be sufficient to finance programmes to address anti-palm oil campaign.