JOHOR BARU, Dec 21: The latest smear campaign against palm oil productsby non-governmental organisations in the west is being orchestrated bycompetitors of palm oil industries.Revealing this today, Malaysian Palm Oil Board director-general Datuk DrYusof Basiron said the smear campaign, which linked the palm oil industrywith the alleged destruction of orang utan's habitat in Sarawak, was thelatest tactic employed by those such as members of the soya bean oilindustry.
"Of course this is their doing. They are now using such indirect methodsto paint a bad image on our products.
"This has actually been going on for quite a while, involving among othersthe use of the internet to spread lies about the palm oil industry." Yusofwas speaking after launching MPOB's State-level "Four Tonne Campaign"aimed at raising oil palm yields, at a hotel here today.
He was asked to comment on a statement by Primary Industries MinisterDatuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik yesterday on a new campaign by a group ofWestern NGOs to boycott palm oil products.
Lim had said the campaign, which accused the palm oil industry ofdestroying orang utan's habitat in Sarawak, had been going on for almost ayear and would proceed to the next stage when the group air their messageon television in Europe next month.
Yusof said the new tactic of using environmental issue as an indirectcampaign tool by rivals of palm oil industry was probably prompted by thefailure of smear campaigns in the past.
Referring to negative campaigns led by members of the soya bean oilindustry in the past, he said MPOB had successfuly countered them withcredible proof that palm oil products were the best edible oil forconsumers.
He said MPOB, along with the Malaysia Palm Oil Promotion Board, were nowtaking steps to counter the new tactic used by the industry's rivals andwould soon launch its counter campaign against them.
"We will probably highlight the fact that oil palm trees in this countryare planted at designated agriculture area and not in reserved foresthavens where the orang utans live.
"Consumers, particularly in the west, will also be enlightened with thefact that the palm oil industry has contributed in the preservation of theenvironment.
"Our ability to supply the world with relatively low priced edible oil hadmade it possible for countries with short supply of such product torefrain from chopping down their forests to meet that need." Palm oilproducts make up over 40 per cent of the world's edible oils and fatssupply. Malaysia, being the biggest palm oil producer, controls over 60per cent of the industry's world output.