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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is negotiating with several countries, including Pakistan, Russia and China, to acquire military assets through barter trade. NSTP file pic/SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is negotiating with several countries, including Pakistan, Russia and China, to acquire military assets through barter trade.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said these countries had shown their readiness to accept palm oil in exchange for military equipment.

“We have been working towards a barter system and have received a positive response,” he told a press conference here today.

Mohamad said the acquisition of defence assets through barter could be a way to reduce the country’s financial burden.

The minister said he would be leaving for Russia tomorrow for a bilateral meeting with the Russian Defence Minister and barter trade would be among the issues to be discussed, adding that if successful, the barter trade could potentially raise the price of palm oil.

Commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement last month on the possibility of Malaysia selecting non-European nations to procure military jets, Mohamad said the decision was not set in stone.

“We are disappointed with the European Union, especially France because Malaysia has purchased a lot of planes from the country such as AirAsia’s fleet of aircraft and military assets such as the Scorpene submarines.

Mohamad said the acquisition of defence assets through barter could be a way to reduce the country’s financial burden. Pic by NSTP/SAIFULLIZAN TAMADI

“However, if they continue their anti-palm oil campaign, Malaysia can buy from other countries but this not final,” he said.

The European Parliament is in the process of banning the use of palm oil in biofuels while a retail chain in the United Kingdom called Iceland had announced it will stop using the commodity in its products.

Malaysia is the top producer of palm oil in the world. Malaysia and Indonesia produce almost 90 per cent of the world’s palm oil.

Anti-palm oil lobbyists are claiming that oil palm cultivation is causing deforestation and contributing to the haze problem when in fact Malaysia practises sustainable oil palm cultivation. - BERNAMA

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