Kuala Lumpur – CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Yusof Basiron today responded to statements made by Australian Parliamentarian Jason Wood, that criticised Malaysia and Malaysian palm oil. Dr Yusof Basiron has issued the following statement:
“A member for the Australian Government – Jason Wood – unfairly criticised Malaysia and Malaysian Palm Oil today in the Australian media and in Australian parliament. He did this in order to push his own government towards the labelling of vegetable oils.
“The question is why? The Malaysian Palm Oil industry has never been opposed to the introduction of transparent labelling of all vegetable oils when it has been introduced. The Australian and New Zealand governments are currently considering regulations that will bring Australia into line with similar requirements in the US and the European Union.
“However, Mr Wood has used this as an excuse to criticise Malaysia and Malaysian Palm Oil, setting back relations between our two countries.
“There are more than 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia that cultivate palm oil. It has brought more than 1 million people out of poverty.
“According to the UN, Malaysia’s forest area loss is significantly lower than Australia’s. Both the Malaysian Government and industry have devoted considerable resources to the protection of animals and the environment. Malaysia has supported and introduced national certification systems for sustainable palm oil production.
“Mr Wood and his colleagues have seen fit to single out Malaysia and Malaysian Palm Oil. But the regulatory changes are about all vegetable oils – not just palm oil.”
“If Mr Wood is serious about protecting animals and wildlife in Malaysia and gaining the support of his Malaysian counterparts, he should consider engaging with us instead of criticising us.”
“Last week a report for the New York Declaration on Forests stated that deforestation caused by beef is nine times worse than that caused by palm oil. Mr Wood should take this into consideration the next time he is looking for foreign countries to criticise.”