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MEDIA RELEASE

STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES YB TERESA KOK REGARDING THE STATEMENT FROM THE INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES THAT THEY HAVE SEALED OFF LAND BELONGING TO THE SUBSIDIARIES OF MALAYSIAN OWNED OIL PALM PLANTATION COMPANIES

13 SEPTEMBER 2019, HO CHI MINH, VIETNAM


I am very concerned regarding the statement from the Indonesian authorities that they have sealed off land belonging to the subsidiaries of four major Malaysian owned oil palm plantation companies. This was due to fires that were said to be raging on these properties. This is a very serious accusation indeed.

From our records the four named Malaysian companies are among the most respected oil palm cultivators. They have already prescribed to and adopted certified sustainable cultivation practices, let it be through MSPO, RSPO, ISCC or a combination of these internationally recognized certification systems.

Those familiar with the industry will vouch for the fact that an act of open burning such as the current accusations would result in the cessation of their certification status not only in Indonesia but throughout their operations including in Malaysia.

Such actions would be rather counterproductive to their business status.

I cannot comment fully on the investigation and reporting by Indonesia until my Ministry officials have full access to the investigation report.

However having reached out to the four concerned companies I can state that they too will cooperate with the authorities to correct this accusation and put matters right quickly.

Such action is also highly unwarranted since I remain concerned that the current accusation will play right into the hands of the anti palm oil campaigners and both Indonesia and Malaysia as major palm oil producers could end up as the ultimate losers.

I will also talk with my Indonesian counterpart and hope to resolve this matter quickly and amicably.

TERESA KOK
MINISTER OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES
13 SEPTEMBER 2019