Minister allays oil palm smallholders’ fears over Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification

Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok in allaying fears expressed by the farmers pointed out that the MSPO certification and IRB were two unrelated matters. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok in allaying fears expressed by the farmers pointed out that the MSPO certification and IRB were two unrelated matters. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

MARAN, Aug 5 — Oil palm smallholders should not worry about being pursued by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) just because they have obtained Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim in allaying fears expressed by the farmers pointed out that the MSPO certification and IRB were two unrelated matters.

“Getting the MSPO does not mean the IRB will go after you for income tax. These are two very different issues.

“MSPO is like getting a driving licence. Getting a licence does not mean you have a car and so rich that you are required to pay tax,” she said after an MSPO briefing and dialogue with oil palm cultivators at Dewan Akademik Usahawan Tani Kampung Awah here today.

She said the MSPO certification was tailored after the German certification standard and could boost palm oil price in the international market.

In this regard, Kok hoped more smallholders would apply to get the certification so as to be able to compete with their Indonesian counterparts who have obtained Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification.

She also assured that the government being concerned for the wellbeing of the farmers, would provide them with incentives such as payment for the certification fee, training, racks for storing chemicals, and protective gear.

“The implementation of the MSPO certification is a strategic step towards enhancing the country’s palm oil competitiveness and image.

“This is in line with the preference of import countries and consumers worldwide to go for sustainable and safe agricultural products,” she said.

According to the minister, only 42 per cent or 2.45 million of 5.85 million hectares nationwide had been MSPO certified as of June 30.

“The number is still too small,” she said.

She said the government has targeted for all oil palm plantations and mills in the country to get MSPO certification by the end of this year.

“I will go to the ground regularly to give an accurate picture of MSPO. Even if we cannot achieve the 100 per cent target, hopefully we can get a high percentage of 80 or at least 70 per cent.

“This will enable us to provide a good figure for international consumers to see our efforts. If we don’t start now, we will remain at 42 per cent,” she said. — Bernama

Source : Malay Mail