I ALWAYS believe that collective decisions can wield considerable influence over the course of our nation’s development.
As a young Malaysian who is deeply invested in the welfare and prosperity of our nation, I find myself compelled to address a matter of significant importance to Malaysia’s economic landscape – the palm oil industry.
Recently, I had the opportunity to engage with my fellow Malaysians while conducting a comprehensive questionnaire which delved into the complexities of the palm oil industry while seeking to correct some misconceptions surrounding palm oil.
The palm oil industry stands as a cornerstone of Malaysia’s economic success, contributing significantly to our nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) and supporting the livelihoods of millions of Malaysians.
As the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of palm oil, the industry accounted for nearly 38% of our agricultural output and contributed 3% to the GDP in 2020.
Beyond its economic benefits, the industry plays a pivotal role in fostering socio-economic development, especially in rural areas. It is not just a commodity; it is the lifeblood of communities across our country.
Engaging with Malaysians from various walks of life during the palm oil survey was a heartening experience. What became abundantly clear was the benefit of constructive engagement and informed discourse in relation to Malaysian palm oil which has generated widespread support for the industry among our rakyat.
The palm oil industry is not without its challenges. However, it is crucial for us as Malaysians to be well-informed advocates for an industry that has played a vital role in our national progress and success.
Our nation has made significant strides in ensuring that palm oil production adheres to the highest environmental and social standards as evidenced by the widespread adoption of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.
When it comes to deforestation, a report by Global Forest Watch in June 2023 noted a sharp reduction in forest loss in Malaysia, hence a reversal of the deforestation trend is achievable.
Oil palm corporations in Malaysia and Indonesia appear to be taking action with some 83% of palm oil refining capacity now operating under a “No Deforestation, Peat and Exploitation (NDPE)” commitment.
Positive government action has continued in more recent years with a plantation area cap established in 2019 through 2023 and new forestry laws enacted in 2022 to stiffen penalties for illegal logging.
Sustainability is not just a buzzword; it is a commitment that Malaysia has taken seriously and will continue to uphold.
As we move forward, I call upon young Malaysians to be proactive in learning about the palm oil industry and the positive contributions it has made to our country by participating in the survey.
Empower yourselves with knowledge – not only about its economic benefits but also about the sustainable practices that our country is putting in place.
Our collective support for the palm oil industry is not just an economic necessity; it is a testament to our unity and resilience as a nation. Let us stand together – young and old, urban and rural – in support of an industry that contributes significantly to our national economic development as well as the welfare of our communities.
By coming together and supporting our local palm oil industry, we will ensure continued economic success and the well-being of those who depend on it, especially the palm oil smallholders. – Dec 6, 2023
Neow Choo Seong is the MCA Youth information chief.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main pic credit: Borneo Today