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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, March 26: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing today defended the country’s palm oil industry and accused the European Union (EU) of being hypocritical.
“The EU’s environmental argument against oil palm is misleading. The most destruction to the world forest is done by the production of soya bean,” Masing said today.
According to him, an acre of forest felled to cultivate oil palm is equivalent to 10 acres of forest felled to produce the same volume of soybean.
“Moreover, once an area is felled for oil palm plantation, it will not be cleared for the next 20 years. While the cultivation of soybean requires a yearly periodic clearing. Thus it is more destructive to our environment!” he said.
Masing who was a former Land Development Minister, reiterated that the EU’s argument is not an environmental issue.
“Its economic argument is based on an economic rivalry between oil palm producing countries and soya bean nations. Malaysia and Indonesia must not fall to such argument! We may belonged to the Third World countries, but we know of First World trading needs! You can’t fool us anymore!” he said.
Masing was responding to a recent report that the European Parliament is in the process of banning palm oil for biofuel while certain retail networks in Britain and Iceland have announced they will stop using the commodity.
Anti-palm oil lobbyists claim that oil palm cultivation is causing deforestation and contributes to the haze problem. — DayakDaily