KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia refutes allegations that its oil palm
plantations were wiping out the rainforest and causing the extinction of
the orang utan.
“In Malaysia, large tracts of forest are being
preserved permanently; for every hectare of oil palm, the country
preserves four hectares of permanent reserves which is a healthy balance
in terms of the land use policy,” Plantation Industries and Commodities
Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said yesterday.
western environmental groups who say that oil palm plantations were
destroying the rainforest, he said the displacement of orang utans
cannot be attributed to palm oil development in general.
at the opening of the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference
hosted by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council here, Dompok said Malaysia was
committed to the United Nations Rio Earth Summit 1982 pledge of
retaining 50% of total land area under forest.
He said there were
laws to ensure that plantations operated in harmony with wildlife,
biodiversity and the environment.
He said that a number of areas
where higher populations of orang utans and other wildlife were present
had been gazetted as wildlife sanctuaries, national parks or forest
“In addition, the oil palm industry has voluntarily
taken steps to be involved in wildlife and biodiversity conservation,”
he said, adding that they were involved in efforts to recreate riparian
reserves and connect wildlife corridors.
He said Malaysian palm
oil has overcome various challenges like dubious health claims by
competing oils because successful research had debunked those claims.
Source : The Star