Kuala Lumpur — According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), the awareness campaign “Love My Palm Oil”, which is led by the Ministry of Primary Industries, has lost Malaysian sentiment towards palm oil.
Its managing director Datuk Kalyana Sundaram said that many initiatives have been taken by the council itself to combat western propaganda for the cooking oil, which is often painted as a destructive force that displaces wildlife and causes rampant deforestation.
“Malaysian consumers have definitely been affected by all of these anti-palm oil messages, the social media and the electronic media they can access.
“Many of them have become believers without understanding the truth,” he said, adding that the Love My Palm Oil campaign started over a year ago and closed the huge information gap among locals.
“Schools and I think some of the personalities, some of the students and even the MPs in this country are now speaking more positively about palm oil and we see this as a measure of the success of the campaign’s efforts.
“No, I will not say that we have overcome the prejudices against palm oil, including among Malaysian consumers. But what we did is that we closed the gap, ”he added.
Minister of Primary Industry, Teresa Kok, announced a one-year Love My Palm Oil campaign last January to counteract anti-palm oil campaigns and movements that are considered a threat to palm oil industry workers.
National Newswire Bernama told Kok that the campaign aimed to promote national pride and appreciation for Malaysian palm oil, focusing on socio-economic importance, health, nutrition, and food and non-food applications. Regarding conservation and reforestation efforts, Kalyana said approximately 55 percent of the country’s total land area is forested.
He also claimed that the council had managed to stabilize the orangutan population in eastern Malaysia and to reduce or prevent human-animal conflicts in plantation areas through its own conservation program.
“We founded the animal welfare fund at the MPOC many years ago, about 10 years ago. The first assignment we received at the MPOC was to stabilize the orangutan population.
“Today, in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Sarawak Forestry Department, I can say that the orangutan population in the states has stabilized and will be protected in the long term,” he added.
Kalyana said the MPOC is also funding a special game rescue unit in Sabah – if there are conflicts with a wild animal, the unit will step in to save it from harm.
Minister of Primary Industry Teresa Kok announced a one-year campaign for Love My Palm Oil in January last year to counteract the anti-palm oil campaigns and movements. The team has had 24 permanent rangers and veterinarians for seven years, he said.
“So that’s our obligation. What is now another commitment, the industry is paying an additional RM1 this year for environmental conservation. We mainly use this money for reforestation and protection. So these are positive efforts, ”he added.
Tax relief is a form of taxation levied by a country’s government with the aim of raising funds for a specific purpose.
How are our efforts against alternative oil producers?
Kalyana said Malaysia has certainly increased stakes, especially given the 60 laws and regulations that govern the palm oil sector here. In contrast, the manufacturers of alternative oils and fats, especially from the West and the European Union (EU), lack such certification.
“I think we do more. Easy thing. In our sustainability debate, we often ask why competing oils, including European rapeseed (oil), sunflower oil and soybean producers around the world, don’t like us are subject to a strict certification system? “, Asked he.
On June 10, 2019, the European Parliament passed the delegated law restricting and completely banning palm oil biofuels by 2030.
Indonesia and Malaysia will work together for equity at the World Trade Organization as the EU pushes ahead with the ban on palm oil as the delegated law discriminates against the economies of developing countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America that produce palm oil
As part of its future plans to meet the challenges ahead, the MPOC is now implementing a brand tracking framework for Malaysian palm oil. Kalyana said the council was considering making the above edible oil a “compound brand” and the goal was the “ultimate long term goal.”
“The ideal long-term goal, especially from MPOC, is to have brand awareness for Malaysian palm oil. Now when I say brand following, I mean branded country of origin. Not individual companies.
“It will be a long-term goal and long-term practice. Our long-term goal would be for anyone looking at Malaysian palm oil to immediately identify it as a class of their own, ”he added.
Last week, Minister of Basic Industry, Teresa Kok, took her crusade to promote palm oil to a new level with the release of a Chinese New Year video that praises its virtues. The five-minute video, which was mainly shot in Mandarin, can be viewed on the video streaming platform YouTube.
In a Facebook post on her official Facebook page, Kok explained why she made the video and stated that any Malaysian can play a role in the extraction of palm oil while the European Union press is attacking that palm oil is harmful to health.