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Malaysia to counter campaign against palm oil in Europe
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September 6, 2008

Malaysia to counter campaign against palm oil in Europe
The oil palm roundtable sustainability talks, being organised by the Malaysian Palm oil Board in three cities in Europe next week, will be part of ongoing efforts to counter the smear campaign against the country's oil palm industry, reported Malaysia national news agency Bernama.

Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp (STIDC) general manager, Len Talif Salleh, said he was not worried about the impact as long as the delegation members were professional in their approach and clarified the real situation.

"The talks will be something we need to handle. I will not worry too much about the impact as they will not have a major bearing in terms of the timber and oil palm industries' overall development in Sarawak," he told reporters at the promotion and sales exhibition for locally-made furniture at the STIDC hall in Kuala Lumpur Thursday.

Len Talif, who is also Sarawak Planning and Resource Management Ministry deputy permanent secretary and Forests Department director, will be joining the high-level delegation.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Peter Chin Fah Kui, will be leading the delegation for the meetings with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Brussels, the Hague and London.

He said such criticisms would not dampen efforts to develop the timber-based industries, which had provided jobs as well as earned foreign exchange for the state.

Len Talif said Malaysia needed to explain the misconceptions of some NGOs that the country was cutting down forests and replaced them with oil palm plantations.

"This is not true because the ecology, environment and biodiversity of areas developed for oil palm cultivation are not affected.

"The country has been unfairly blamed despite producing palm oil for the world," he said.

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