KUCHING, March 16: Europe’s determination to designate Malaysia as ‘High Risk’ under European Union Deforestation-free Regulation’s (EUDR) is unjustified, says Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Malaysia and its farmers are “not high risk” and should not in good conscience be categorised as such.
“Malaysia’s deforestation rate is effectively zero and the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme exemplifies our commitment to comprehensive sustainability standards.
“MSPO must be recognised by the EU as a path to compliance with the Regulation,” he said in a statement today.
On March 15, more than 500 smallholders in the country signed a petition to urge EU to review the EUDR that is deemed discriminatory. The petition also sought EU to endorse MSPO certification and remove Malaysia from the list of countries at risk if the EUDR is implemented.
Fadillah said in Malaysia, small farmers depend on the export of palm oil, rubber and other agricultural commodities to support their families.
He said the Deforestation Regulation presents a significant stumbling block for them to access the European market, the ultimate outcome of which would be to increase poverty, reduce household incomes and harm our rural communities.
“These actions are unjust and stand in stark contrast to the EU’s commitments outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“Small farmers deserve to be treated fairly and must be exempted from the Regulation’s unrealistic demands,” he added.
He pointed out that to date, these concerns and demands have not been seriously addressed by EU leaders and the fate and livelihood of Malaysia’s small farmers hang in the balance.
“We urge the EU to remedy the situation effectively and expeditiously.
“The Malaysian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and the Ministry of Plantation and Commodities are committed to protecting, supporting and defending the welfare and livelihood of Malaysia’s small farmers,” he said. — DayakDaily