by BERNAMA / pic by TMR file
The government is reviewing the purchase of products from countries in the European Union (EU), following the proposal by the economic and political bloc to ban palm oil biofuels by 2020, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said the matter was decided during the Cabinet meeting last week, which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
“If we import trade products from any country, and if that country makes the decision to boycott palm oil, then our government will also stop buying from that country.
“They carried out various marketing efforts so that we buy their products, but (they) don’t want to buy our products. Malaysia is not a country that can be manipulated,” he said in his speech at the launch of Hello Commodity Bagan Datuk programme yesterday.
Ahmad Zahid said if approved by the EU, the proposal would affect the incomes of some 500,000 smallholders across the country.
In fact, he stressed, the decision could be considered as a discrimination, which would affect the demand for palm oil — one of the biggest commodity-based export contributors with a value of RM71.5 billion in 2017.
The Bagan Datuk MP also gave the assurance that the government will take appropriate measures to ensure that the future of Malaysia’s palm oil is safeguarded.
“The palm oil sector is the main backbone whereby the sector not only contributes in terms of increasing the country’s revenue, but is also one of the people’s economic activities.
“The government has given a special focus on the development of oil palm smallholders so that the production and quality of palm produced can be improved, and subsequently increase the incomes of the small shareholders,” the deputy prime minister said. –Bernama