Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok says the ministry would continue taking legal actions against millers who have yet to be MSPO-certified. Pix by BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will revoke oil palm growers license above 100-acre if not in compliance with the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) beginning next year.

Primary Industry Minister Teresa Kok said the ministry would also continue taking legal actions against millers who have yet to be MSPO-certified.

“As of October 2019, Malaysia has about 328 palm oil mills MSPO-certified or 72.6 per cent of the total 448 mills in the country,” she told reporters at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition (PIPOC) 2019 here today.

She said the Malaysian palm oil industry strives to strike a balance between social, environmental and economic needs of the nation and its people by persistently prescribing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) 2030.

“Various efforts are being undertaken to ensure the sustainability of palm oil industry and I hope that PIPOC 2019 will be able to showcase some of the progress made thus far in research and good practices,” she added.

She stressed that the key effort with regard to sustainability in Malaysia is the mandatory implementation of MSPO certification. 

“It is a way to drive the palm oil industry to subscribe to good agricultural practices and be responsible for environmental preservation and protection of social rights in accordance with national regulations and international sustainability requirements,” she said.

Kok said the MSPO certification has reached the level of 60 per cent of the total oil palm planted area as of October 2019, and hopeful  to reach 70 per cent by February next year.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will continue to vigorously push for MSPO as the country’s brand of sustainability and for it to be internationally recognised and accepted. 

“MSPO is very important for our palm oil industry including our smallholders to practice good agriculture and to ensure a sustainable industry,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has mandated a government-linked company to work closely with smallholders in an effort to increase the adoption of MSPO certification as part of the company sustainable supply chain.

“Once successful, I would also like to encourage other major industry players to assume their corporate responsibility by assisting the smallholders to achieve MSPO certification,” he said.

He said the palm oil industry is governed by more than 60 national laws and regulations including the stringent licensing requirements by MPOB licensing categories throughout the palm oil industry’s supply chain.

Malaysia has about 55 per cent or 33 million hectares of land area covered by forest.

“Oil palm plantation is not a major cause of deforestation, as it accounts for only 0.4 per cent of the total global agricultural area. 

“In Malaysia, oil palm is mainly planted in designated agricultural land and the opening of new plantation has plateaued in recent years and will remain as such,” he said.