2/5/07 (Daily Express) - Sandakan: The East Malaysia Planters Association (Empa) has lambasted certain groups in the West for their recent accusations that Malaysia is killing the orang-utan to clear land for oil palm cultivation.
Dismissing such claims as baseless and mere propaganda, Empa Chairman Salim Mohamad said this was because the oil palm industry in this country was managed in a sustainable manner without causing environmental degradation or adversely affecting the wildlife.
He said the groups might be backed by European and American companies bent on hurting Malaysia's oil palm industry.
"They are doing it possibly because they see palm oil as a threat to the vegetable oil that they produce," he said after attending a dinner organised by the association, here, Sunday night.
Salim stressed that the association was taking steps to ensure that cultivation activities would not harm the environment.
Earlier, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said efforts to care for the environment should not be taken lightly to ensure that Malaysia, which is the biggest producer of crude palm oil, would continue to reap benefits from the commodity.
"We can't give them any excuses to attack us. This means that we must abide by all rules and regulations. The Government won't compromise on this," he added.
About 1.4 million hectares of land in Sabah are cultivated with oil palm. - Bernama
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