Chin refutes palm oil lies

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/6/19/nation/18051986&sec=nation

Tuesday June 19, 2007

Chin refutes palm oil lies

By STEPHEN THEN

MIRI: Environmental activists in the West are spreading misconceptions, distorted views and wrong information about Malaysias plantation and agriculture industries.

Some of the information being circulated were so absurd, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui.

He led a high-powered delegation to Europe last week to counter anti-palm oil lobbyists and found that the propaganda being spread by Western NGOs were far from the real situation in Malaysia.

He said the Malaysian delegation met MPs, ministers, NGO representatives and palm oil critics in Britain, Belgium and Holland to explain the situation in Malaysia.

A World Wildlife Fund scientist working in Sabah and Sarawak followed the delegation to give WWFs opinion on the issues, he added.

Chin also had face-to-face interviews with the Western media including the BBC and the Daily Telegraph Environment.

He said the Western governments acknowledged that palm oil was good for food and for fuel, but they wanted to be certain that our palm oil and related products were from sustainable sources.

The Malaysian delegation had to take great pains to correct these inaccuracies, Chin told a press conference here yesterday.

For example, the Western NGOs keep saying that Malaysia fell trees all the time in our plantations.

This is not true because oil palm trees are productive up to 25 years, while rubber trees can produce latex for 35 years.

Our timber trees take decades to mature, so how can we be chopping down trees every year? he asked.

Other claims made by the West include:

AGRICULTURE and plantation development in Malaysia and Indonesia contributes to 35% of the worlds greenhouse gas emission.

Chin asked: How can this be? Can our agriculture projects be more polluting than the heavy industries in America, Europe, China and India and the millions of vehicles there?;

ORANGUTANS all over Malaysia are being killed by our palm oil projects.

Chin said: This is not true because the orangutans are only found in Borneo, and in those areas in Sarawak and Sabah where they live, great efforts are made to protect them; and

MALAYSIA and Indonesia have the same system in land clearing and plantation development.

Chin said: This is absolutely untrue. Malaysia and Indonesia are different countries, adhering to different policies and ways of development.