New Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin intends to adopt a circular economy while she helms the ministry, focusing on reproducing and recycling commodities’ waste into something more marketable.
“This is something that is relevant to my experience in the last ministry (housing and local government) in waste management, so this I would like to work together [on the matter] with the ministry,” she told the media today.
She was present here today for the handing over of notes from former plantation industries and commodities minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.
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She said that she would like to work on how to generate more income for the country from recycling waste products, namely the oil palm biomass.
She also aims to improve commodities like palm oil, rubber, cocoa and pepper in terms of productivity, and focus more on the sustainability of these crops and at the same time cut losses and be prudent in management.
Zuraida noted that currently, the industry contributes about 12% or almost RM100 billion to the country’s revenue.
"It's a bit of a challenge for me but I will take up the task, especially at a time when the country is in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic," she said.
On the labor shortage issue faced by the industry during the pandemic, Zuraida said she took note of the problem that industrial players are facing, and it will be among the key thrusts for her to focus on.
Explaining further, she said that due to the labor shortage, the industry had been affected by 20% wastage, causing the country to lose a few billion ringgit.
Lastly, she plans to work with Indonesia as a team against the European Union's (EU) discrimination against palm oil.
“We have no choice but to compete healthily. This is an international issue that we have to constantly convince the EU and European consumers about the benefits of our palm oil.
“I really hope that together with the people in the ministry, we can work hard to make the MPIC a dynamic ministry, thus contributing to nation-building and the economy. I also hope to have positive progress within my [first] 100 days as the minister,” she concluded.