Recently, the European Commission (EU) announced their proposal to ban palm oil in an effort to curb deforestation and displacement of wildlife. Malaysia, being one of the major palm oil distributors, is undoubtedly upset on the matter. Subsequently, a few political figures have given their thoughts on the proposed ban.
As Primary Industry Minister, Teresa Kok expressed a lot of concerns that would affect Malaysia’s economic status. Teresa ranks first in the influencers list of the topic “palm oil”, indicating that she is active in addressing the issue.
Besides EU’s justifications on the palm oil ban, she fears other countries will generalise and assume all palm oil producers are the cause of deforestation and deem palm oil unsustainable.
In a more aggressive approach, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said if the EU continues to discriminate against palm oil, Malaysia would launch a plan to retaliate. It is unclear on what Tun M’s entire retaliation plan is as he did not share much information on it.
Last month, France had voted palm oil out of their country following concerns about its environmental impact, risking the start of a trade war. Tun Mahathir has shared that they may restrict French imports if they do not plan to curb the ban on palm oil.
Furthermore, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah highlighted that some French politicians agreed that the basis on palm oil ban is unfounded. Members of the French Parliament who have visited Malaysia claimed Malaysia has a good environment for its growth, and the issue was received negatively.
“Through the negative campaign on Malaysian palm oil, they were told the forest of Malaysia has reduced when we still have more than 53 per cent forest cover. I also told them that our wild life such as Malayan tiger and orang utan are protected,” – Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on New Straits Times
In the Twittersphere, netizens did not take the ban lightly. But most of them were reminiscent on how Najib handled palm oil during his reign.
It seems true that Teresa Kok has kept herself busy juggling the palm oil situation. Judging by the way she is handling the situation, it is likely to see her name more often when it comes to news regarding palm oil.