Smallholders’ protest signal displeasure over EU palm oil biofuel ban, says minister

Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16: Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong released a statement following today’s protest by Malaysian palm oil smallholders in opposition to the European Union’s (EU) effort to ban Malaysian palm oil biofuels.

“It is noted that smallholders have come out in large numbers against the European Union’s effort to ban palm oil biofuels under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

“These protests are a clear signal to the European Parliament and Council as well as to the EU President that Malaysian smallholders are upset and unhappy with the efforts to ban palm oil biofuels from the European marketplace, and underscore our resolve to protect our national interests.”

Mah said the Malaysian government views the proposed ban as an effort by Europe to impose a “Crop Apartheid” on Malaysia’s 650,000 palm oil smallholders.

“Malaysia will take the necessary action in order to protect the rights of more than 3.2 million Malaysians whose livelihoods depend on the palm oil sector,” he added.

Mah said the proposed ban would allow competitor oilseed crops to continue operating under the RED, whereas palm oil will be excluded as of 2021.

“This is blatant discrimination and the EU has always stood against discrimination. I call on the EU to stop discriminating against our palm oil sector.

“It is important to remind our EU counterparts, that Malaysian palm oil meets the strictest standards of sustainability required, as Malaysian palm oil biofuels have been certified as sustainable by the leading European sustainability schemes, including the German ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification),” he said. — Bernama