Palm oil millers, estates get grace period to apply for MSPO

A warning notice will be issued to estates and milling factories which have yet to start their certification process and in July, compounds will be issued

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is granting a grace period until July to oil palm estate owners and millers who have not, to apply for the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) scheme.

MPOB DG Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said the government agency will be issuing a warning notice to those who have failed to obey the given deadline of Jan 1 to be certified, or submitting their application process.

“MPOB will put up a warning notice this month to estates and milling factories which have yet to start their certification process, and beginning July, we will start issuing compounds.

“We are very serious on getting our palm oil certified with MSPO standards,” he said after a briefing session with oil palm planters in Kuala Selangor yesterday.

Ahmad Parveez said parties who fail to get certified by July could be fined up to RM200,000 under the regulations enacted under MPOB, in addition to revoking their operation licence.

“Under Rule 21 of the MPOB Regulations (Licensing) 2005, the uncertified millers and oil palm growers can be fined up to RM200,000 or could be imprisoned up to three years. They could also be compounded up to a maximum of RM100,000.

“However, we will give them an avenue to explain before they are fined, compounded or have their licence revoked,” he said.

Ahmad Parveez added that independent smallholders will be imposed a different sanction due to the drawbacks and circumstances of their operating structure.

According to the official data by the government, about 76.3% or 345 out of the total 452 palm milling factories in the country are certified with MSPO as of Jan 10.

For the oil palm estates, which consisted of plantations and organised smallholders, about 73.4% or 3.58 million hectares (ha) of 4.87 million ha have been certified, involving 365 groups of organised smallholders and 1,833 oil palm estates.

Including the oil palm plantations areas harvested by independent smallholders, the data showed that about 62.8% of the total 5.85 million ha of palm plantations in the country have been certified with MSPO.

The government has made the MSPO certification mandatory beginning Jan 1 after it was extended by six months last year.

On a separate matter, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said Malaysia may desert its plan to pursue lodging a complaint to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the palm oil ban by the European Union (EU).

“We have not met with the new ministers of the EU Parliament and since its last elections, they have been policy changes by the Parliament.

“We will continue our mission to the EU in February to explain all of our efforts and we would want to review their response after that. We might not need to go to WTO if their policy softened,” she said.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said at the International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition last year that Malaysia will not retaliate the palm oil discrimination by the bloc just yet, as demand for the commodity has continued to increase.

However, Dr Mahathir said the government will not hesitate to act, including pulling in WTO intervention, if the discriminatory practices against palm oil countries are found violating the international laws.

In December last year, the Indonesian government said it has filed a lawsuit to the WTO against the EU on the bloc’s restrictions of palm oil-based biofuel.