Scrutinise green conservation projects, MP tells Zuraida

·2-min read
Scrutinise green conservation projects, MP tells Zuraida
Scrutinise green conservation projects, MP tells Zuraida

Former plantation industries and commodities minister Teresa Kok has called for more conservation projects by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council’s cess fund as a method to combat false accusations against palm oil.

She said this after Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin shared her experience in Mecca recently where she learnt that Arab countries had put an unflattering light on the palm oil industry.

“I urge Zuraida to examine and scrutinise the green conservation projects under the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) and carry them out systematically with a proper communication strategy in mind.

“(This is) so that Malaysia can cite some of the impactful projects to counter the untrue accusations against palm oil in many parts of the world,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Zuraida recently became the subject of ridicule for claiming orangutans in Malaysia would “kill you first” when they encounter human beings, rather than vice versa.

She said this after discovering that school books in Arab countries talked bad about Malaysia’s palm oil because the country killed orangutans.

Her office has since clarified that her controversial comments about human-harming orangutans had been uttered in “jest”.

The office regretted the criticism against her that had “undermined” the ministry and “distorted” the country’s palm oil campaign.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok

Kok said Zuraida’s revelation was no surprise as anti-palm oil sentiments had already spread to the Middle East.

She said palm oil is perceived as containing ‘less healthy fats’ compared to other oils on the market such as corn and olive oil.

“I hope the experience Zuraida has had in Arab countries will make her understand and adopt my earlier formulated policy of halting and capping the expansion of oil palm plantations in Malaysia.

“I also hope she utilises the palm oil industry’s generous cess fund under the MPOGCF to replant forest trees and carry out other green conservation projects while caring for the wildlife impacted by these human activities,” Kok said, adding that there has been slow progress in tree replanting in Sabah.

The Seputeh MP said palm oil and palm-based products rank among the top 10 in terms of their export value, making them a major contributor to the nation’s GDP.

“If Malaysia as a major palm oil-producing country does not devise new and comprehensive strategies to counter the worldwide anti-palm oil sentiments, it will surely jeopardise our palm oil industry and hurt millions dependent upon this commodity,” she added.

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