The government has no intention of suspending the implementation of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said today.
Kok noted that MSPO certification is necessary to ensure that palm oil is recognised as a sustainable and five-star commodity.
"That's why we want to continue with the MSPO certification seriously.
"Otherwise, it will be difficult for us to market palm oil in the future, especially when European Union countries impose various obstacles to the entry of palm oil into their markets," he said.
Kok was speaking to reporters after visiting smallholder Chong Yun Loi, 52, whose two-hectare oil palm smallholding that he cultivated since 2006, received the MSPO certification last week.
The minister was asked to comment on the call made by many oil palm smallholders for the government to postpone the implementation of MSPO certification until the market improves, as they are facing difficulty in abiding by the conditions.
Kok said the government provides an audit cost of RM135 per hectare of oil palm smallholding to facilitate smallholders in applying for the certification.
Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council CEO Chew Jit Seng said there are about 650,000 smallholders nationwide who are cultivating 38 percent of the 5.85 million hectares of areas under oil palm.
The government has made it mandatory for all oil palm planters and smallholders in the country to obtain MSPO certification, which outlines best agricultural practices to make the country’s palm oil an international choice, until Dec 31.
Earlier, Kok visited the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok.
She commended the Sabah government in preserving and conserving the environment and wildlife through the State Forestry Department and Sabah Wildlife Department.
“The efforts should be vigorously promoted, especially to the international community, as they will help us combat the anti-palm oil campaign abroad.”