Felda to petition EU’s 17 embassies

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

THE Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) is expected to present its petition against the European Union (EU) ban on palm oil to all the respective embassies in Malaysia from 12pm today.

The Malaysian Felda Youth Council (MFYC) president Muhammad Fadzli Hasan said Felda and its settlers are expected to be at the 17 embassies in Kuala Lumpur to send in the petition together.

Among the 17 embassies involved include the UK, Sweden, Spanish, Romania and Poland.

“We have managed to get more than 100,000 signatures of Felda settlers from the 317 settlements around the country.

“We will go to the embassies tomorrow to send the petition which rejects the EU’s discrimination towards our palm oil,” Muhammad Fadzli said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said the band imposed by EU countries is expected to have a major impact on 600,000 small palm oil farmers and 112,635 from the number are Felda settlers who produce at least 3.3 million metric tonnes per year.

As it is, palm oil is one of the major contributors to the country’s export, accounting more than RM60 billion per year.

Muhammad Fadzli said the sanction by the EU will deeply affect Felda settlers and will also have an impact on the stability of Malaysia’s economy.

MFYC is joined by the Malaysian Youth Council (MYC) in voicing concerns on the issue. The two bodies also plan to organise a protest against the EU’s move on palm oil.

MYC president Mua’amar Ghadafi Jamal Jamaludin said the resolution will have a negative effect on socio-economy as well.

“The majority of our youth will lose their jobs if the ban is put into force, and once they have lost their source of income, it will lead to bigger social problems which will have bad impacts to our country.

“EU’s move to ban our palm oil also contradicts with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in reducing poverty,” Mua’amar Ghadafi Jamal told reporters in the same event.

The council plans to discuss the issue at the international youth conference which will be held in the near future.

MYC is expected to collaborate with the youth councils from countries that are affected by the ban, including Indonesia and Thailand.

The aim is for the EU to relook into the ban on palm oil and ultimately withdraw the restrictions. Malaysia has recently warned of retaliatory action against the EU’s threat to ban imports of palm oil into the region.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said Malaysia together with other palm oil producing countries such as Indonesia and Thailand are prepared and will do whatever it takes should the EU remain adamant to exclude palm oil from its biofuel mix and renewable energy.

“Please note that we are doing whatever is necessary, and we are prepared to go all the way and possibly even match it with retaliatory actions from all palm oil producing nations.

“I hope it won’t come to that stage, but if it does and our products are discriminated, we can also do the same thing, taking action against their products because we — Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand — are also purchasers of a lot of European products,” Mah said in a press conference last week.