KUALA LUMPUR: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok today expressed concern over land being cleared for an oil palm plantation in the vicinity of the Mulu National Park in Sarawak.
Noting that this was a World Heritage site and that the development was being disputed by the indigenous people there, Kok said she had contacted Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas to share her concern.
“As land is a state matter, I am counting upon the state government to take the appropriate measures to resolve the matter in the interest of the state, the indigenous people and our national sustainability agenda,” she said in a statement.
It was earlier reported that an oil-palm plantation giant was clearing the forests at the fringes of the Mulu National Park and that more than 300 members of the Penan and Berawan communities had set up human blockades against the forest-clearing. It is said that the company plans to open 4,400ha of land for an oil palm plantation.
Kok said she would be presenting a paper on “Sustainability of Oil Palm Cultivation in Malaysia” at the 133rd Meeting of Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers on Feb 26 to address the country’s policy relating to the expansion of oil palm plantations.
She hoped that certain recommendations on this could be adopted nationwide by the state authorities at the meeting.
“The ministry of primary industries will continue to engage with all state governments and agencies to collectively formulate, through a consultative process, national policies that promote the sustainability of our oil palm cultivation, the preservation of our natural forests and wildlife conservation.
“These measures are also extremely important to help the nation and the palm oil industry address and overcome the intense anti-palm oil campaign that currently threatens our key Western hemisphere markets and the livelihood of our smallholders,” the minister said.