KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should stop confusing people that there was a sudden change in the trend of Malaysian palm oil exports following the 14th General Election, says Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.

She said Najib should know better and look at the bigger picture instead of nit-picking.

“The truth is that export trade statistics for the period January to September 2018 support the fact that Malaysian palm oil exports increased 3.6 per cent to 18.27 million tonnes compared with 17.63 million tonnes for the same period in 2017,” Kok said in a statement today.

The minister was responding to Najib’s post on his Facebook page on Monday which stated that Indonesia’s palm oil exports was increasing every month compared with last year, whereas for Malaysia it had been falling.

In the online post, Najib said since the elections, palm oil exports had fallen every month, except in September when the government abolished the five per cent tax on palm oil exports.    

Kok said Najib knows very well that traded or export-oriented commodities such as palm oil, and every other vegetable oils and fats, experienced ups and downs in prices and exports.

“Export volatility in the commodities markets has been experienced over the past few years and palm oil has not been spared such market swings, while price is also a result of the global market.

“He should be familiar with the reasons and factors that impact palm oil exports and prices which include global cyclical changes in demand and supply, festivities, excess stocks, and the global economy,” she said.

Kok pointed out that Malaysia’s well-structured palm oil industry continued to demonstrate its resilience throughout 2018, even when faced by declining global prices and the ministry was confident that the export volume of palm oil until the end-2018 would be higher than 2017.

She said efforts were ongoing between her ministry and its agencies, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board and Malaysian Palm Oil Council, to intensify measures to further expand Malaysia’s export markets.

“This commitment will also ensure that traditional high volume palm oil markets will make a strong comeback, especially in early-2019,” Kok added. — Bernama