The Malaysian government will continue to protect its existing forests and will not clear forest areas for the purpose of oil palm plantation, an official said Tuesday.
Though the demand for the production of palm oil is on the rise, the government will not develop it at the cost of existing forests, said Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities Vijayaratnam Seevaratnam.
Vijayaratnam made the remarks in response to a question from Senator Azizah Abd Samad during a parliament meeting here.
Azizah raised a question on the allegation by some non- governmental organizations and foreign environmental activists, which said Malaysia had cleared a lot of forest to plant oil palm.
The planting of oil palm has been carried out in allocated areas and does not involve the clearing of forest areas, stressed Vijayaratnam.
“Hopefully the international society understands the sincere intention of the government to take care of its forest areas, and these areas would not be used for the planting of oil palm,” Vijayaratnam was quoted as saying by the national news agency Bernama.
Malaysia is promoting the use of biofuel on vehicles in this country, which is a mixture of 5 percent of processed palm oil and 95 percent of petroleum diesel. This move will naturally lead to a higher demand of the production of palm oil.
(Cf. news of May 04, 2006.)
Source: Soyatech.com May 16, 2006.