Thursday, October 7, 2010

Minister takes anti-palm oil activists to task

Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo04/10/2010 (The Star Online), Kuala Lumpur - Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has slammed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and environmentalists for blindly alleging that the palm oil industry was responsible for the destruction of rainforests and orang utan habitats.

"Despite a well-managed and caring industry, we are being bombarded with baseless allegations by NGOs and environmentalists who hold palm oil accountable for the destruction of rainforests and orang utan habitats," he told a press conference after opening the Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar here Monday.

Bernard pointed out that some zoos overseas were campaigning against palm oil based on unproven facts, such as those by the Don't Palm Us Off Facts group.

"All these, (while) nonchalantly displaying their version of 'orang utan cruelty' by imprisoning orang utans in confined spaces and subjecting them to cold and non-tropical climates," Bernard said.

Bernard said zoos in non-tropical countries should release their orang utans back into the wilds of Malaysia or Indonesia.

Orangutans: Wizards of the Rain Forest"Use the money contributed by the public towards real conservation programmes instead of making feeble attempts at running negative campaigns that mislead the general public," he said.

He added that the Government had pledged RM20mil towards the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund.

"More recently, we have initiated a programme to set aside a major tract of rainforest in Sabah to establish a mega wildlife sanctuary," he said.

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