Western groups out to discredit Malaysia's oil Palm industry
Kuala Lumpur, April 16 (NNN-Bernama) Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that certain groups in the West are bent on hurting Malaysia's oil palm industry when they accuse the country of killing thousands of orangutan when conducting land clearing for oil palm cultivation.
The deputy prime minister said the industry and the ministry involved must take immediate action to stop such underhand tactics by people who wanted to chip away at global confidence in oil palm products.
"It's not true. There is an underlying motive, which is to hurt the interest of the oil palm industry. That is the real intention," he told reporters after presenting a keynote address at the international conference on Malaysia's smart school initiative here Monday.
Najib was commenting on a newspaper report which said that certain Western activists had accused Malaysia and Indonesia of killing thousands of orangutan by encroaching into their habitat during forest clearing exercise for oil palm plantation.
Najib stressed that Malaysia had a good international track record for the conservation of the orangutan and forest development activities which were done on a sustainable basis.
"In terms of our forest cover including permanent forest reserves, the areas which have been gazetted are still sizeable. We even have special areas for orangutan conservation," he added.
Admitting that the government was not too happy over certain cases of forest development like the one at the Lojing Highlands, Najib said that generally such activities were conducted according to sustainable principles.
"Comparatively speaking, in terms of international practice, Malaysia is among the best, far better that many European countries," he added.
The report quoted Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin as saying that Western activitists had launched an all-out campaign in several countries, including in Europe, to criticise the alleged destruction of the natural habitat of the orangutan in Malaysia and Indonesia.
They had reportedly asked people in Europe to boycott oil palm products originating from the two countries.