KINABATANGAN: Oil palm planters in Sabah, the country’s second largest cultivator of the commodity, have not ignored their responsibilities to preserve wildlife and conserve forests, says Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim.
The minister said her visit to the state found that many people, including anti-palm campaigners from other countries, were unaware of the conservation efforts carried out by oil palm planters here.
“The conservation efforts is good news but many are unaware that our palm oil industry has taken many steps to ensure conservation of forests.
“This information will help my ministry fight for Malaysia’s palm oil industry, especially in revealing these efforts to the leaders of other countries, including those in Europe,” she told reporters after officiating the launch of the state’s “Plant a Million Trees” programme at the Pin Supu Forest Reserve here today.
Kok said she welcomed the commitment given by palm industry players in Sabah towards forest conservation, such as those of Sawit Kinabalu Sdn Bhd, which manages the 2,500ha Sungai Pin Conservation Area near here.
She also praised all state leaders who had agreed to limit the growth of oil palm plantation areas in their respective states.
This included Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal, who announced on October 2018 that Sabah would not allow expansion into permanent forest reserves.
“We are not limiting the palm industry, but there are ways for us to plant sustainably.
“We need to diversify our planting,” she added.
Touching on the “Plant a Million Trees” programme, Kok hoped Sabah can plant 100,000 trees from forest species annually for the next decade.