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Stop selling, importing products involved in palm oil boycott, says Jo Ghani

May 6, 2024


KUALA LUMPUR: The Plantation and Commodities Ministry has issued a stern warning to retailers, importers and distributors in the country against selling, distributing or importing products which are tied to the boycott campaign against palm oil.

Its minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said his ministry would go down hard on the boycott campaign, which was previously aggressively conducted abroad.

He said the government will strictly enforce the Trade Description Regulations (Prohibition of the Use of Statements of Expressions or Indications) (Production of Palm Oil and Palm Oil Products) 2022.

“The ministry will inform the Royal Customs Department to be even more strict and thorough in its checks on products which enter the country regarding their anti-palm oil labeling,” he said at a press conference at Menara Dato Onn, here today.

Its minister Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said various types of ice cream with the labels were confiscated during the 11.45am raid, prompted by a public complaint.

Armizan said the Trade Description Act 2011 prohibits any form of discrimination or boycott against palm oil products in business activities or advertisements.

Under the regulation, which came into effect on March 15, 2022, parties found guilty of the offence can be fined not more than RM250,000 or imprisoned for a period not exceeding five years.

Meanwhile, Johari said enforcement action on such products is crucial to address what appears to be a growing trend of overlooking regulations.

He said it is unacceptable for Malaysian distributors to sell products to fellow Malaysians, under labels such as NPO or “Palm Oil Free.”

“This practice has persisted for far too long. Contrary to what we observe here, such discriminatory labeling is absent in countries like Indonesia.

“You don’t see any NPO products anywhere.

“Products from abroad often discriminate against our palm oil. Therefore, we support the action taken by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry because we lack a dedicated department for enforcement, so they will handle it.

“We are not against the import of foreign products involving edible oil. We allow the import of soybean oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. But if the product contains anti-palm oil labeling or the NPO label, we will not allow it,” he said.

Johari said there is a need to bring about change.

“Why are we discriminating against our products when we are the world’s second-largest palm oil producer?.

“If we want our palm oil industry to be respected, we must ensure that we uphold its integrity,” he said.

He highlighted the significant economic contribution of the palm oil sector, which is the fourth largest contributor to the economy, which employs nearly a million people and grants opportunities to 450,000 small holders’ households.

Johari also said that some local companies, specifically high-end supermarkets, have been detected selling products bearing the anti-palm oil campaign or NPO labels.

He said he has already raised the matter in the Cabinet.

Some traders, he said, have also begun covering up the NPO labels on the products in question.

“The ministry is giving companies which import these products time to resolve this issue by either covering up the label or repackaging them altogether.

“We are issuing a warning that in the future, there should no longer be any products brought in which bear the anti-palm oil label.”

Source : NST