Minister: Unfair for EC to call palm oil high indirect land-use risk

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said it is unfair for the EC to single out palm oil as a high indirect land-use change (ILUC) risk and soy bean as a low ILUC change risk. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said it is unfair for the EC to single out palm oil as a high indirect land-use change (ILUC) risk and soy bean as a low ILUC change risk. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUCHING, March 13 — Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok says it is unfair for the European Commission (EC) to single out palm oil as a high indirect land-use change (ILUC) risk and soy bean as a low ILUC change risk.

According to Kok, what the EC means is that planting palm trees will change the nature of the land.

“That means you are going to chop down more trees. We are not happy how come soy beans can be considered as low ILUC risk but palm oil is high ILUC risk by the EC. So we put forward our argument on this,” she told reporters after making a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here today.

She said basically palm oil will cause land use to be changed and in order to reduce deforestation, the EC wants to phase out palm oil from the EU market especially in the biodiesel sector.

“We think this is unfair and we have come out with our country’s position and presented it to the EC. We hope they will consider Malaysia’s position because we are the second largest palm oil producing country,” she said.

Kok said the EC will table the Delegated Act in the European Parliament next month which aims to restrict and ban palm oil biofuel in the EU by 2030.

According to Kok, the ministry’s experts are still in Europe and in the process of justifying the case for palm oil via scientific findings to the EC.

“My ministry has already sent a delegation to argue over the methodology of the Delegated Act,” she said.

Meanwhile, sharing the contents of her meeting with the chief minister and deputy chief minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Kok said as Sarawak has the biggest area under oil palm, her team is holding discussions on how to handle this issue and develop suitable strategies.

“We had very good discussions. One of the ways we want to implement is the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.

“It is a certification to show the sustainability of our palm oil. We want to tell the world that Malaysia’s palm oil is from sustainable planting sources, meaning that it is planted according to good agricultural practices,” she said. — Bernama