Today, leaders from the Malaysian palm oil industry appeared before a public hearing of the Australian Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee to provide testimony and answer questions regarding the Food Standards Amendment (Truth in Labelling – Palm Oil) Bill 2010. Appearing before the Committee to outline concerns and the implications of the legislation to the Malaysian palm oil industry, included: His Excellency Dato Salman Ahmad, High Commissioner of Malaysia; Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC); Dato Carl Bek-Nielsen, United Plantations; and Datu Vasco Sabat Singkang, Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA).
In prepared testimony for the Committee, Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron, Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, remarked:
“…Truth in labelling should be driven by health issues, not political expedience, which is behind some of the campaigns revolving around this Bill.
It may make the adherents and supporters of Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund have a great degree of self satisfaction when sipping their skinny lattes, but to 570,000 Malaysians and their families there is no self satisfaction. All they see is a threat to the livelihoods.
Do the international NGO’s – Greenpeace and WWF – want to keep people in poverty?
Do they view the people of my country as participants in some sort of case study?
The commitment of our industry is sustainability and growing our industry.
Non sustainability would inhibit our industry’s growth.
Without that growth the lives of our industry’s workers and their families would not improve….”