Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok has been active in addressing palm oil for the past months. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Primary Industries launched a year-long ‘Love MY Palm Oil’ campaign to promote the commodity amidst the European Union’s (EU) palm oil ban.
One of the major arguments used against the commodity is that its cultivation practice is causing deforestation.
Consequently, the ban would primarily affect Malaysia and Indonesia as those countries are the biggest palm oil producers in the world.
Almost 90% of the oil palm produced in the world come from Malaysia and Indonesia.
However, the top influencer for the topic ‘Palm Oil’ was no longer led by Teresa Kok in October. It was replaced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
This is because India called for a boycott on Malaysian palm oil products following Mahathir’s comment on the Jammu and Kashmir conflict, claiming that those states were invaded and occupied by India.
Unlike the EU’s ban, the boycott is exclusively targeted on Malaysia. This means India could import palm oil from Indonesia as an alternative.
Regardless, Mahathir refuses to retract his comment, stating that it is his opinion on the conflict and he stood by it.
According to exportgenius.in, India is the world largest importer of palm oil, almost two times more compared to China.
Along with EU’s ban, Italy and the Netherlands will be out of the picture, making China and Pakistan the remaining top global palm oil importers to deal with Malaysia.
Therefore, India’s product boycott would affect the Malaysian economy in one way or another. How would Tun Mahathir relieve the tension with the Indian government if he insists on not retracting his statement?