The Ministry of Primary Industries announced a year-long “Love MY Palm Oil” campaign on Wednesday to fight anti-palm oil campaigns that are threatening the people's livelihood.
Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim said the campaign's objective was to instil national pride and greater appreciation for Malaysian palm oil, focusing on socio-economic importance, health, nutrition, and food and non-food applications.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is scheduled to officiate at the official launch of the “Love MY Palm Oil” campaign in the first quarter of 2019.
“Events and activities will be held catering to different stakeholders, including industry members, professionals, students, academia and the general public.
“These include targeting our young impressionable people from primary school to tertiary levels through the setting up of palm oil ambassador clubs in campuses, Edupalm forum, palm oil cooking competition and educational palm tree planting exercise,” she said in her keynote address at the Reach and Remind, Friends of the Industry Seminar 2019 and Dialogue organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council here.
Kok said for the government to fight against anti-palm oil campaigns that are endangering the people's livelihood, all Malaysians needed to know and love palm oil.
She said the sentiment was also shared by Dr Mahathir who had voiced out his concerns and support in protecting the nation's palm industry and the livelihood of fellow Malaysians. “Tun (Dr Mahathir) has always been very supportive of the palm oil industry as it is a major contributor to our economy and rural poverty eradication.
“While we will continue to face many more challenges in 2019, let us be more resourceful in the marketplace and also uphold our Malaysian palm oil.
“This is because 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,” she said.
This, Kok said, was evident by the misperception among many Malaysians who were taken in by the aggressive anti-palm oil campaigns. She also expressed regret that some local businesses were found to be selling imported “no palm-oil” labelled products.
She said the locals also needed to be educated with the correct information such as that the palm oil industry was more efficient, with yield ten times more than other oils per hectare planted, thus utilising less land, and it used fewer pesticides and chemical fertilisers than other vegetable oil sources.
Meanwhile, she said since Europe was demanding only certified palm oil by 2020 through the Amsterdam Declaration, Malaysia was prepared to meet the requirement through its mandatory Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme.
“We will ensure that all palm oil exports to the global markets, including Europe, are at least MSPO-certified by Jan 1, 2020,” she said.
The minister also called for the stakeholders to rally behind the government and support this effort with the ultimate goal of producing and marketing palm oil that was sustainably produced with the highest mark of Malaysian quality assurance.
“In other words, a five-star oil,” she added.