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Palm oil: Dompok to lead team to convince Australia

Published on: Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Penampang: Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok will be meeting with Australian legislative members and also corporate executives to dispel misconceptions about Malaysian palm oil.

He said the one-week trip is aimed foremost to actively engage with the Australians regarding the benefits of palm oil.

"We will be talking with a wide range of people such as from the Australian legislative assembly, executives and also from the industry itself," he said at the launch of the EduPalm programme at SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin, here, Tuesday. The Australian Parliament, he said, is about to pass a Bill that makes it compulsory to label food that contains palm oil.

This came about due to pressure the new Australian Prime Minister is facing after obtaining a thin majority in Parliament in elections last year.

Julia Gillard managed to form a government after taking in independent MPs into her side. Some of these MPs, Dompok said, are now exerting their pressure on her regarding issues they want to popularise.

"And one of them (issue) is about environment or related to the green issueÉand, of course, palm oil has been an easy target all these years," he said.

"We want to tell them that palm oil is safe for consumption and that it is among the main income generators for Malaysia," he said.

The trip from July 24 would include officers from the Malaysian Forestry, Wildlife and Environment departments and agencies.

Their role, he said, is to dismiss allegations that Malaysia is destroying the wildlife habitat through its oil palm initiative.

During the trip, he would also be promoting other commodities such as rubber and timber.

On other developments, he expected the country's export of palm oil this year to be about RM70 billion.

Based on the commodity's good price, he said this could be achieved.

Malaysia's export of palm oil last year was worth RM62 billion while in 2009, RM50 billion.