We will definitely back the law. It is only natural that we give our support to a crucial local product such as palm oil, says Chua
by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
LOCAL retailers pledged to remove anti-palm oil products from their grocery store shelves in a show of support for the federal government as Malaysia up its fight against “discriminatory actions” by developed nations.
The government had earlier mooted plans to set out a new law to remove products with “palm oil-free” or “no palm oil” labels found mostly at high-end stores. Local retailers, who have expressed great patriotism, said they are ready to retaliate to support domestic produces.
“We will definitely back the law. It is only natural that we give our support to a crucial local product such as palm oil. It is painted in a very negative light in Europe. We have to fight this,” Malaysia Retail Chain Association president Datuk Seri Garry Chua told The Malaysian Reserve recently.
The country’s biggest hypermarket wholesaler Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd had earlier removed anti-palm oil products from its stores across Malaysia — the third-largest economy in South-East Asia. MD Datuk Wira Ameer Ali Mydin said the company began removing palm oil-free items labelled last Wednesday.
“It is very important when a country itself makes a decision (and) its citizens support it. It would be very irresponsible for us not to do anything.
“By labelling products with ‘no palm oil’, you are telling consumers that palm oil is bad for you. I think this is very irresponsible for suppliers or manufacturers to do this,” he told reporters at the “Love My Palm Oil Campaign” launch for Mydin in Selangor.
Ameer Ali said anti-palm oil products at his stores are imported, but did not disclose any figures. Mydin has nearly 80 outlets nationwide and still owns premium grocer Sam’s Groceria Sdn Bhd.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, who was also present at the event last week, said she hoped other retailers in the country would follow suit. Kok previously said a proposal to ban products with anti-palm oil labels is being drawn up by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
In retaliation to the European Union’s (EU) sustainability stance of excluding palm oil usage as its biofuels by 2030, Indonesia has instructed its local retailers to remove all products with “palm oil-free” or “no palm oil” labels from shelves at grocery stores since August.
The world’s largest palm oil producer has been consistent in its promise of retaliatory actions against any policies that will cripple its biggest commodity export.
Malaysia and Indonesia are stiffening the moves to fight the commodity battle against some of the European countries.
According to reports, Indonesia has threatened to halt aircraft purchases from Airbus SE by its domestic carriers, higher tariffs imposed on EU dairy products and a reduced palm oil shipment to the trade bloc.
The EU has adopted a delegated act proposal that implements the Renewable Energy Directive II which will gradually limit and phase out biofuel imports into the bloc until 2030.
Malaysia and Indonesia are the world’s top producers of the commodity, supplying about 85% of global demand.
The EU countries are the second- largest buyers for both countries after India, as Europe currently consumes 7.5 million tonnes of palm oil a year — about 10% to 15% of the global palm oil demand.