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KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) is intensifying efforts to clean up the country’s image abroad.

MPOGCF general manager Zamakhshari Muhamad said news on biodiversity and wildlife sustainability efforts need to be widely spread to prove that Malaysia’s palm oil industry is sustainable.

Attacks on palm oil are aimed to protect the interest of other vegetable oils by using health, environmental and sustainability issues.

“We need the support of the media and NGOs to protect and champion the palm oil industry, which is the fourth largest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product,” said Zamakhshari in his speech at a hi-tea with the media recently.

The anti-palm oil campaign in the United States in 1986 has portrayed how “a commercial agenda is masked by health issues”.

The American Soybean Association had disseminated reports that palm oil consists of high levels of saturated fat that increases the risk of heart disease.

Malaysia succeeded in fending off these allegations by providing evidence-based scientific findings from the Palm Oil Research Institute conducted overseas including in the US. The campaign ended in August 1989.

Zamakhshari said the failure to use health issues led to green groups using environmental issues instead.

They connected palm oil estates to jungle destruction and a threat to wildlife, especially the orangutans and Bornean elephants in Sabah.

“A lot of information was inaccurate and exaggerated.”

He added that in order to protect the palm oil industry, the government established the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF) in 2006, which was managed by the Malaysia Palm Oil Council.

In 2020, the MPOWCF was upgraded to a foundation and its name changed to the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation or MPOGCF.

“The setting up of MPOGCF is to ensure biodiversity and wildlife sustainability efforts were prioritised so that Malaysia’s palm oil industry remains sustainable.”

MPOGCF which became a new entity began its operations officially on April 1, last year.

“They include the Harimau Malaya Conservation Programme and the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary in Kinabatangan, Sabah as well as the sponsoring of Sabah’s Wildlife Rescue Unit.”

Source: The Vibes