KUALA LUMPUR: The government must focus its international lobbying efforts in Europe and the US to counter the global anti-palm oil campaigns, a government backbencher told the Dewan Rakyat.
Larry Sng (PBM-Julau) said the government’s campaigns should be intensified in Europe and the US as it would be time-consuming to sell palm oil in new markets in other countries.
He also said the impact of lobbying in these two regions would be felt in the rest of the world.
“This is because the US, Europe, Canada and Australia (function) as a bloc and their laws will be adopted by other nations,” said Sng while debating the 2024 supply bill at the committee stage.
Sng also pointed out that the RM15 million allocated under the 2024 budget to counter the international anti-palm oil campaign is inadequate, as lobbying for palm oil in England, Europe and the US costs a total of RM15.5 million a year.
He said the campaign to counter the anti-palm oil narratives was mostly aimed at the local market at the moment, even though main industry players in the country such as Sime Darby Plantations Sdn Bhd and FGV Holdings Bhd had agreed that the funds should be spent on lobbying efforts overseas.
In the 2023 budget, RM10 million was allocated for lobbying efforts overseas.
In June, Malaysia and Indonesia teamed up to protect palm oil products threatened by a European Union (EU) trade law that would ban imports deemed to be driving deforestation, throwing the bloc’s trade muscle behind a global fight against climate change.
The law would restrict imports from around the world on coffee, cocoa, soy, timber, palm oil, cattle, printing paper and rubber.
Under the law, imports that come from land deforested after Dec 31, 2020, will be prohibited in the huge EU market – the third-largest for both Indonesia and Malaysia.