More EU countries pledge support against palm oil ban


THE government is confident to change the European Union’s (EU) standpoint to phase out the use of palm oil in biofuels by 2020 with more European countries having pledged support to Malaysia against the EU resolution.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (picture) said the ministry has managed to secure close to 50% of the total European leaders to show support against the ban.

“The council of ministers are focusing on Europe’s six biggest countries, which are Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Poland,” Mah told reporters at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“We have visited these six countries and it looks very promising right now because five out of the majority European countries have stated that they will not support the discrimination against palm oil.

“Moving forward, we will work to convince more countries to join on board,” he added.

The EU Parliament’s resolution in January had called for the phasing out of the commodity, citing environmental destruction related to palm oil cultivation as the reason for any trade sanctions.

Mah maintained that Malaysia has many laws on the cultivation of palm oil that advocates environmental-friendly and sustainable practices.

Approximately 650,000 palm oil smallholders are present in Malaysia, while Indonesia currently has three million.

He said Malaysia is committed towards sustainability, following the recent introduction of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification.

“We have made it mandatory to remind all those in the palm oil sector, consisting estates and smallholders of that the cut-off period is by the end of 2019.

“For smallholders, the government is committed to pay for all the auditing fees,” he added.

The minister added that Malaysia is also in talks with the High Commission of Singapore to seek support against the resolution, which has been described as discriminatory.

“I have also informed the Cabinet members during yesterday’s meeting on the results of Malaysia’s palm oil negotiation mission,” Mah said.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand comprise 30%, 34% and 4% respectively of the total oil palm producers in the world.