Saturday, September 04, 2010

Who is lying?

A sample photo of a logged hill for oil palm?

Friday September 3, 2010 MYT 9:17:00 PM
Protest against palm oil smear campaign in Aussie zoos

MIRI: The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) have submitted official protest to the Australian Government - to express its anger over the move by zoos in Australia to allow activists to blatantly smear Malaysia’s and Borneo’s image through anti-palm oil public posters.

MPOC Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron told The Star Friday that his council had sent two memos to the Australian Government.

“We are countering the lies spread by these activists and making known our objections to the Australian authorities.

“The allegations against us are very serious and damaging to the image of not only our palm-oil industry, but also the reputation of peninsula Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah.

“The Aussie posters was also brought up to the attention of our Cabinet also. The posters used by these activists in Australia contained a lot of lies. We want the zoos to take down those posters,’’ he said in a telephone interview from his headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

The Star recently highlighted the move by environmental activists who put up posters in the Adelaide Zoo criticising the oil-palm projects in peninsula Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Papua New Guinea.

The posters, among others, claimed that the palm-oil industry had caused serious deforestation, wildlife abuse, global-warming and the genocide of Orang Utans.

The posters also called for pressure to be applied on the Government and policy-makers to force palm oil industralists to do more to protect the environment and wildlife.

One of the posters claimed that in Borneo, palm-oil developers are “killing up to 50 Orang Utans per week by using guns, machettes, wooden stacks and fire’’.

The Star found out about these poster campaigns during the visit to the world-famous Adelaide Zoo by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen during her recent mission to promote Malaysia’s tourism spots.

Dr Ng protested against these posters and tried to counter the activists’ stance during her meeting with trade representatives and foreign journalists during her stop in New Zealand and Australia.

Yusof told The Star Friday, the MPOC found similar posters in other Aussie zoos.

“We have contacted politicians in Australia and also the management of the zoos and have asked that those posters be pulled down.

“We have hired independent researchers from overseas to come to Malaysia to carry out independent probes on the Orang Utan and have found no evidence of any killings by oil-palm workers.

“In fact, our studies showed that the Orang Utan population in Sarawak and Sabah have not even declined as claimed by these activists.

“As for claims on our forest destruction and wildlife abuse, the latest information we have is that the environment authorities have already taken steps to improve enforcement and penalise offenders.

“Making sweeping allegations against us is most unfair under the circumstances,’’ he said.

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