PUTRAJAYA: The International School @Parkcity, which initially rejected the government's "Love MY Palm Oil" programme, is now opening its doors to Malaysian Palm Oil Council, said Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.
In a statement today, the minister said senior administrators of The International School @Parkcity, namely Education director Andrew Dalton, principal Jonathan Turner and director of Parkcity Sukhdev Singh accepted her invite to the Plantation Industries Ministry.
The school administrators apologised for the “unfortunate incident” and told her that on hindsight, they could have handled the situation better.
“They shared a video clip with me which was actually shown at the students’ assembly. The clip included an excerpt of an anti-palm oil video titled ‘Rang-Tan’ produced by the NGO Greenpeace.
“The students merely repeated the roles as depicted in the anti-palm oil video clip, which was shown at the assembly.”
During the meeting with the educators, Kok reiterated her stand that the issue was not about stifling freedom of expression in schools.
“Rather, it is about them having a fuller understanding of both sides of the coin about the palm oil controversy, particularly the numerous efforts taken by the government and the palm oil industry players towards sustainability of the entire value chain,” she said.
Malaysia’s palm oil industry is highly regulated with about 60 legislations and the government has been and continues to advocate for the entire industry to adopt the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification, thereby assuring consumers of the world that the palm oil they buy is sustainably produced.
Recently, the Finance Ministry had allocated RM100 million to help subsidise certification costs for small and mid-sized oil palm growers owning less than 1,000ha.
“I explained to The International School @Parkcity administrators the health benefits of red palm oil and vitamin E tocotrieniols. They were very surprised to learn of this,” she said.
“l also told them that oil palm became controversial because of its high productivity. If there is no oil palm in the world, with the growth of the world population, nations would have cleared more rainforest to grow other inefficient oil crops to satisfy the global consumption needs,” she added.
The minister appreciated The International School @Parkcity's sincerity in resolving the issue and their change of mind to welcome the government's educational programmes.
In the mid-term, Kok harbours hope of further engagement with other international schools to open their doors to the government's "Love MY Palm Oil" programmes.