A PERPETUAL TARGET
the Internet, social media has taken over the role of spreading fake news. And the reach is even more devastating. Already we hear of such news being cooked up to tarnish the image of individuals. Regulators have come out with a new approach to suppress such practices, recently creating a website for the public to cross-check and validate news. Time will tell whether it will be an effective instrument.
Fake news is not new to the palm oil industry either. This month, the palm oil industry in Malaysia will reach its 100-year mark after the first planting of the Tennamaram Estate way back in 1917. That first foray into oil palm planting now proves to be a major blessing for the country.
Palm oil is not only a big revenue earner for the nation but also a proven instrument of poverty alleviation for the nation. Each year, the earnings from palm oil approach the RM100 billion mark. It would not be wrong to say that palm oil has made Malaysia what it is today. From nowhere, palm oil now leads world trade in edible oils, accounting for more than 30 per cent. But the success has not been without its share of threats and challenges. Fake news has been one of its biggest threats.
In the early years of its entry into global competition, the fake news concerned the nutrition of palm oil. The spread of such news was especially rampant in the West. They claimed palm oil contributed the most to the rise in heart-related diseases. All such unsubstantiated claims have been proven wrong through research and sound science. Now, another piece of fake news is going viral because of certain parties. They claim palm oil is bad for the environment. Going by scientific data, palm oil is, in fact, the most sustainable among the available edible oils.
PROF DATUK DR AHMAD IBRAHIM, Fellow Academy of Sciences Malaysia UCSI University
In the early years of its entry into global trade, fake news concerning the nutrition of palm oil was especially rampant in the West.