Najib: Malaysia, Indonesia jointly against EU stance on palm oil

BY SULOK TAWIE
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (right) meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia Annual Consultative Council, in Kuching, November 22, 2017. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Nov 22 — Malaysia and Indonesia concur that the European Union must be dissuaded from its unfair policy against palm oil, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Speaking to reporters after his annual bilateral talk with Indonesian President Joko Widodo here today, Najib said the two countries have agreed to cooperate on convincing the EU to reverse the stance.

“The policy will have adverse implications, affecting 600,000 smallholder families in Malaysia and, I was told, affecting 17 million smallholder families in Indonesia,” he said.

In April, the European parliament voted to phase out unsustainable palm oil by 2020. The resolution endorsed a single Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) plan for Europe-bound palm and other vegetable oil exports to ensure they are produced in an environmentally sustainable way.

In addition to environmental damage, the industry has come under fire over frequent reports of land grabs, child labour and harsh working conditions.

Malaysia and Indonesia are among the top global producers of palm oil.

Naib said Malaysia has voiced its concern on the policy’s effects on the palm oil industry and has met with the representatives of European countries in Malaysia.

He said Malaysia will soon send its officials to explore possible solutions with EU countries.

“I understand also that Indonesia is going to European Union,” he said, stressing the importance of the two countries’ collaboration on the matter.

Najib also said both Malaysia and Indonesia welcome the agreement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh towards resolving the Rohingya refugee situation.

He said the Rohingya crisis did not only concern Malaysia and Indonesia, but the global community.

The prime minister said the bilateral meeting also touched on the re-opening of the border areas at Entikong, West Kalimantan and Tebedu, Sarawak, for trade, after the signing of the Border Crossing Agreement.

“We also agree on the potential of border areas which can be developed for the benefit of people living along the border areas,” he said.

Najib also said the two countries agreed to set up more border posts to prevent unwanted elements from crossing the border areas, especially the militant groups.