Tue, 19 Oct 2010

Kuala Lumpur (ANTARA News/Bernama) - Malaysia and Indonesia should set a joint council based in Europe and the United States to fight negative perceptions and unfounded allegations made against the palm oil industry.

The proposal came from former primary industries minister Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik. The ministry is now known as the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry.

He said both countries should set aside some funds for the council and appoint an articulate person to attend all forums organised by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) campaigning against the palm oil industry.

"The person must be prepared to debate with them based on well-researched facts and figures on our side," Dr Lim said in a keynote address at the Second International Conference on the Future of Palm Oil Business 2010 here Monday.

"Malaysia and Indonesia as the main palm oil producers must come to the forefront to fight these threats. I am confident that we will win in the end because their campaigns are based on half-truths and sometimes outright lies," he said.

Dr Lim said despite being successful in penetrating major markets in Europe and the US, palm oil was facing threats from various sides.

"Our success in global markets due to a superior and less costly product prompted Western competitors and their trade and labour union allies to react.

They would like to block our product from their markets if possible," he said.

Fortunately, for consumers across the globe, free trade in goods and services is protected by international laws and norms, Dr Lim said.

"So, we are able to sell our goods freely, satisfying rising global demand in the process, at least for the time being," he said. (F001/K004)