RM510 MILLION MORE FOR OIL PALM SMALLHOLDERS
THE allocation, announced by the prime minister, will benefit 600,000 smallholders engaged either in replanting oil palm or in new schemes. The funds are on top of a budgeted RM1.75 billion for the 2010-2020 period.
THE government has allocated another RM510 million for oil palm replanting and new schemes by smallholders until 2020, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced yesterday.
Speaking at the Malaysian palm oil industry’s 100th anniversary celebration at Sime Darby’s Tennamaram Estate here, he said the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry had requested RM130 million for this year.
“I am pleased to announce an additional allocation of RM510 million for the smallholders’ oil palm replanting scheme and new smallholders’ planting scheme for three years,” he told a 5,000strong crowd, comprising members of the industry, including smallholders.
This was on top of the existing RM1.75 billion oil palm replanting budget for independent smallholders from 2010 to 2020, which would benefit 600,000 smallholders.
The RM1.75 billion, for independent smallholders, falls under 10th and 11th Malaysia Plans.
In addition, the prime minister said investments were also needed for research and development, as well as strengthening human capital, targeting professionals to venture into the field and allocating funds for new planting of oil palm and replanting schemes.
He also warned Malaysia and Indonesia would retaliate against countries that had erected trade barriers to palm oil exports.
Najib said Malaysia and Indonesia must stress to countries boycotting palm oil that “we also buy a lot from them”.
“I have discussed with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to have our ministers leading the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries to visit them, including the European Union, and convince them that their campaign and negative claims against palm oil are baseless.
“We must also tell them that Malaysia and Indonesia are not countries without capabilities.
“Malaysia and Indonesia also buy a lot from them, and whoever is boycotting palm oil may see retaliation from us,” said Najib
Also present were Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar, Mah’s deputy, Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur, Sime Darby Bhd chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman and Sime Darby Bhd president and group chief executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.
Najib was referring to countries that had launched campaigns to boycott palm oil exports, alleging that planters killed orang utan and caused environmental destruction.
Najib said the agriculture industry was one of the most successful initiatives by the government in eradicating poverty.
He said he was confident that the industry would continue to prosper, beyond the National Transformation 2050 vision.
He also announced that the Education Ministry had agreed to allocate RM4 million to build a new Tamil school in the estate here. The school will see pupils from the existing Tamil school in Kampung Baru Estate being transferred once it is built.
Najib also launched a special edition 100 Years’ Palm Oil Industry stamp and coffee-table book.
The late second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was awarded the Oil Palm Industry Icon for his contributions to the commodities sector. It was posthumously accepted by Najib.
Other industry personalities and organisations were also honoured, namely the late Frenchman Henri Fauconnier, who pioneered the planting of oil palm on a commercial scale in the estate 100 years ago.
Today, the estate belongs to Sime Darby Bhd.
Fauconnier was given the Oil Palm Industry Founder’s Award, which was accepted by Jeremie Fontaine, his great grandson.
Other prizes and winners were the Small Time Planter Special Awards (Ahmad Sidek from Peninsular Malaysia, Mohd Sabri Dimeng from Sabah and Musa Maton from Sarawak); the First Commercial Oil Palm Plantation Award (Tennamaram Estate); and the Pioneering Government Oil Palm Scheme (Felda Taib Andak in Kulai, Johor).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak planting an oil palm at the Malaysian palm oil industry’s 100th anniversary celebration at Tennamaram Estate yesterday.