Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad cooks with palm oil and he urges Malaysians to do the same.
The Prime Minister’s use of palm oil was made known in a video message played at the Reach and Remind, Friends of the Industry Seminar 2019 and Dialogue organised by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) yesterday.
He also urged Malaysians to support the vegetable oil as it is good for them and the country’s economy, and to reject the negative campaigns against palm oil.
“Educating our own people on the benefits of palm oil is one of the strategies Malaysia has taken in its fight against Western anti-palm oil campaigns,” said Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.
Kok said the ministry has collaborated with the MPOC to launch a year-long Love My Palm Oil campaign.
The campaign is to instil national pride and greater appreciation for Malaysian sustainable palm oil, focusing on its socio-economic, health and nutrition benefits as well as its food and non-food applications, said Kok.
Activities planned in the campaign will cater to different stakeholders including industry members, professionals, students, academia and the public.
The programmes include setting up palm oil ambassador clubs on campuses, “edupalm” forums, cooking competitions using palm oil, oil palm planting exercises, talks, sports events and exhibitions.
“In reality, our own people, including businesses, are not aware of the socio-economic importance and nutritional value of palm oil, besides it being more environment-friendly compared with other competing oils.
“This is evident by the misconception among many Malaysians who are taken in by the aggressive anti-palm oil campaigns, and we also regret that some local businesses are found to be selling imported ‘no palm oil’ labelled products.
“We need to educate them that the palm oil industry is more efficient with yield that is 10 times more than other oils per hectare planted, thus utilising less land,” she said to reporters after attending the seminar yesterday.
Kok added that palm oil and palm-based products are the country’s fifth major export product, generating RM62.7bil in export earnings last year.
Kok said Dr Mahathir will be writing to the president of France and the prime minister of Norway on the European Union’s proposed ban on the use of palm oil for the production of biofuels by 2030.
She said this trend of certain EU countries passing such resolutions on palm oil will affect bilateral relations between Malaysia as a palm oil-producing country and the EU nations.
“We import high technology vehicles, aeroplanes and food products from Europe but we only sell palm oil as a commodity to them.
“And yet they try to limit our product to their market, which is very unfair and we will defend our product,” she said.
The minister will visit Indonesia next month to work with the Asean neighbour for the benefit of the 100-year-old Malaysian palm oil industry.
She also planned to meet the British High Commissioner here to convey the importance of palm oil to Malaysia.
MPOC chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor said Malaysian palm oil, including those produced by smallholders, is targeted to be Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil-certified by end 2019, and that this would be the key in differentiating Malaysian palm oil from other vegetable oils in the markets.