New Straits Times (06/10/2020) - KUALA LUMPUR: A study on the labour situation in the country's oil palm sector is expected to be announced soon after the Cabinet approval, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) said.
MPOB director-general Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam said the joint study with the International Labor Organisation (ILO) would be sent to the US.
This will be in response to the US Customs and Border Protection's ban on imports of palm oil and palm oil products from state-owned FGV Holdings Bhd over allegations of use of forced labour.
Ahmad Parveez said this had been made to ensure the country's agricultural products were free of restrictions.
"The ILO report is currently still with the Cabinet. What is most important about the report is the next steps (that) will be taken," he told a news conference after a luncheon talk on the industry's outlook and challenges here today.
Previously, the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities had presented a study on the labour situation in the country's oil palm plantations to the Cabinet on July 24.
This was one of the initiatives taken to remove the Malaysian oil palm plantation sector from the US' Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorisation Act list.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Parveez said MPOB together with the ministry, had progressively been conducting programmes to increase awareness and educate the industry on forced and child labour issues.
He said MPOB had also reminded all MPOB-licenced estates to avoid any elements of forced labour and child labour in their operation via distribution of letters.
"Malaysia strictly does not condone any act that contribute to the prevalence of forced and child labour in the sector," he said.
On the commodity's prospect, MPOB director of economics and industry development division Fauziah Arshad said palm oil would continue to be the powerhouse of the oils and fats market and would remain as the most suitable crop for tropical developing countries.
Fauziah said the palm oil's dominance was increasing and it would continue to be an attractive long-term commodity for both producers and consumers alike.
"As palm oil is the largest oil consumed globally (33 per cent of world oils and fats consumption), demand will grow in the future and this will continue to remain as the biggest opportunity for Malaysian palm oil industry," she said.
Fauziah also said palm oil had faced many challenges.
The main issue currently being that of "sustainability" and protectionist attitude with the aim to protect domestic oilseeds/oils and fats industry.
"Despite the challenges faced by the palm oil industry, we will continue to strive for sustainable development by bringing the industry into economic sustainability without compromising social and environmental sustainability of the industry," she added.
Read more at https://www.nst.com.my/business/2020/10/630084/mpob-provide-joint-study-ilo-malaysias-labour-situation-us