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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 M'sia/Indonesia Mull Asean Commodities Body

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 (Bernama) -- Malaysia and Indonesia are exploring thepossibility of forming an ASEAN committee on commodities, said PrimaryIndustries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik.

This collaboration is to enhance research and development (R&D) activitiesand strengthen regional trade among Asean members, Dr Lim said whendiscussing the importance of forging closer ties with Indonesian producersand traders on market access for rubber, palm oil and other such oducts inview of their low prices in the world market at present.

"It is agreed that a co-operative mechanism involving private sectorgroups should be established for palm oil similar to that which exists forrubber," said Dr Lim in a statement Monday.

Dr Lim who was on working visit to Indonesia from Oct 31 to Nov 4 met vicepresident Hamzah Haz, Minister of Forestry M. Prakosa, CoordinatingMinister of Economy Dorodjatun Kuntorojakti, Minister of Trade andIndustry Rini Soewandi and State Minister of Environment Nabiel Makarim.

He said that the purpose of the visit was to discuss bilateral issues onprimary commodities and to further strengthen co-operation between the twocountries, especially in meeting the challenges arising from the impendingglobalisation and liberalisation of the world markets.

At the meeting, Dr Lim said he took the opportunity to explain to therelevant ministers Malaysia's policy of promoting investment in Indonesia,in addition to bringing up the problems faced by investors, especiallythose in the plantation sector.

On this matter, he said that the Malaysian delegates were told that theIndonesian government was in the process of streamlining relations betweenthe central and provincial authorities.

During the meeting with the Indonesian vice president, the two countriesagreed to reactivate their bilateral ministerial meeting which was lastheld in 1996.

Meanwhile, on illegal logging, Dr Lim said both countries agreed that itwas a domestic matter.

Therefore, should any Malaysian be found to be involved in the offence, heor she should be brought before the Indonesian court, he said.

He added that according to the Minister of Forestry the current impositionof export ban on logs from Indonesia would be reviewed in six month'stime.

In this regard, the Indonesian side had indicated that they would studythe proposed measure of identifying the list of sanctioned exporters andimporters from Indonesia and Malaysia respectively.

He said after discussing various issues, both countries could look forwardto closer co-operation between them in future, especially, over primarycommodity issues.