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Haze: Probe outcome will determine action against Malaysian plantation companies

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 7): The government is to act against Malaysian-owned plantations in Indonesia if it is true that they have resorted to open burning that contributed to the recent trans-boundary haze that also affected Malaysia.

Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin told the Dewan Rakyat that the government is awaiting the outcome of an investigation on the matter.

“So far, no company has reportedly been involved in open burning,” he said during Question Time in the house.

He was replying to a question from Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) who asked the ministry to state the extent of the role of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) set up by Malaysia and Indonesia in addressing the opening up of plantation land by open burning by the oil palm companies that cause the annual trans-boundary haze.

Shamsul Iskandar said that through the CPOPC, Malaysia and Indonesia had expressed their commitment to ensure sustainability in the production of palm oil and oil palm-based products.

The practice of sustainable cultivation complies with the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification and Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification which includes prohibiting open burning, he said.

He also said that more efforts will be looked into at the Palm Oil Supply and Demand Outlook Conference (POSDOC) to be organised by the CPOPC on Oct 22 in Bandar Baru Bangi that will be attended by oil palm industry players from Malaysia and Indonesia.

The conference will discuss three primary aspects related to the oil palm industry, namely production, market demand and price forecast that will include the cross-border environmental issue, he said.

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