Saturday, October 19

Soppoa supports call to disseminate factual information

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KUCHING: The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) fully supports Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok’s call for factual information on the palm oil industry of Malaysia to be disseminated to students.

“This came about following a stage show by some students which incorrectly depicted orang utans as being threatened by oil palm growers in the country.

“Foremost, orang utan habitats in Malaysia are fully protected by laws in both Sabah and Sarawak (only places where orang utans live); Sarawak sets aside six million hectares for Permanent Forest Reserves, one million hectares for Totally Protected Areas and 84,000 hectares specifically for orang utan conservation areas.

“It is the right of people to state their views but these should not contain lies and unfounded information especially against the palm oil industry of the country. As such it is only right that the government has taken the initiative to provide factual information on the palm oil industry to schools and the public,” said Soppoa in a statement yesterday.

The association pointed out that another approach by the government to ensure lush green landscape would be protected was to limit the total area of oil palm to 6.5 million hectares.

This meant that there would be no large expansion of oil palm estates in Malaysia, it added.

More importantly, Soppoa said the Malaysian palm oil industry is to be fully certified under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification by December 2019.

“Which means that Malaysian palm oil is sustainably produced and certified. Critics of the palm oil industry should make an effort to visit Malaysia and see for themselves the lush greenery all over the country and the natural habitats where wild orang utans roam freely with all the other living creatures of the forests.”

Asserting that the palm oil industry in Malaysia is an important economic sector, the association said the sector had been providing incomes to thousands of smallholders as well as over 600,000 people directly and indirectly employed in the industry and generate income for the country.

“For those who care enough to find out the truth including local- based NGOs, they can easily get these facts from various ministries and agencies in Malaysia through their websites and stop relying on hearsay by irresponsible NGOs.

“Soppoa also calls for the education ministry to provide factual information on the palm oil industry of Malaysia to students throughout the country in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary Industries and related agencies so that Malaysian students will be knowledgeable on the palm oil industry of Malaysia,” concluded the statement.