Retailers displaying unfair, deceptive ‘No Palm Oil’ labels face fines, jail sentence

ADVOKASI Perusahaan dan Industri (API), an advocacy group dedicated to promoting business and industry growth, urges consumers, supermarkets and retailers to be informed of the new regulation under the Trade Description Act 2011 which prohibits the use of discriminatory labels against palm oil.

The regulation which came into force in March 2022 has come into full effect now that the one-year grace period is over. Consequently, penalties of RM250,000 or a five-year jail term will be imposed on any individual who violates the law.

API’s reaction came following news reports where local retailers and supermarkets were urged to avoid false or misleading statements in their labelling or advertisement pertaining to palm oil.

“It’s completely wrong for brands to mislead people with false information about palm oil or deceptive ‘no palm oil claims’ on products,” commented API’s mamaging director Datuk Fazli Nordin.

“We all have a right to make unbiased decisions in the marketplace but unfortunately some brands have been abusing their power. False claims about palm oil skew the market for consumers and undermine a key driver of our national economic growth.”

Datuk Fazli Nordin

He added: “This anti-competitive behaviour disadvantages both consumers and palm oil producers. We firmly believe in the power of consumer choice and aim to protect their right to access accurate and non-discriminatory product information.

“Deceptive anti-palm oil labelling practices not only harm consumers but also hinder fair competition, undermining the essence of a free market economy.”

While API is aware of the concerns surrounding palm oil production, Fazli said several global compliance measures are in progress to improve the efficiency and sustainability of palm oil production, thus bolstering a major driver of economic growth in Malaysia.

“As one of the largest producers of palm oil, Malaysia is at the forefront of efforts to enhance regulations in a bid to implement global standards for sustainable palm oil,” he noted.

In a recent development, British policymakers have made a significant commitment to recognise the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification following Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof’s recent official visit to the UK.

This recognition serves as an important step in ensuring the sustainability of commodities entering the country. More than 96% of palm oil planted areas in Malaysia today have obtained the MSPO certification.

“We must not overlook the significant harm these practices can have on the local economy. It is therefore crucial to recognise the vital role that the palm oil industry plays in supporting smallholders and our economy at large,” stressed Fazli.

“Palm oil cultivation provides income and livelihoods for millions of small-scale farmers, supporting local communities and contributing significantly to rural economies.” – Aug 14, 2023

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