Malaysia has right to slap ban on anti-palm oil products, says Kok

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.

PETALING JAYA: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said Malaysia has every right to impose a ban on products with anti-palm oil labels.

She added there is no reason for a palm oil producer country like Malaysia to allow such products to enter the market.

“For the past few years, whenever MPOC (Malaysian Palm Oil Council) received complaints about palm oil-free products in the market, they will ask the company or retailers to take them off the shelves.

“The label is just a marketing gimmick for the European market. Why is there a need to even mention it?” she said after officiating a palm oil event at a school here.

Kok was asked to respond to a statement by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs’ (IDEAS) that urged the government to educate consumers about palm oil instead of banning the zero-palm oil products.

The think tank said slapping a ban on the products would have a negative impact on prices and consumer choices as well as have trade repercussions.

Kok said she is not worried at all about the suggestion by IDEAS.

“How many products with no palm oil can you actually find in the supermarkets?”

She previously said on Thursday that a suggestion was made to the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry to ban products with the anti-palm oil label.

This came after Indonesia, another palm oil producer country, had removed products with ”palm oil-free” or “no palm oil“ labels from their grocery stores last month.

They also promised retaliatory action against any policies that could cripple its biggest commodity export.

Mydin, one of Malaysian biggest hypermarket chains, had said they are taking down “palm oil-free” products from their shelves in response to a government call to counter the anti-palm oil lobby.