"We don't destroy forest reserve for palm oil" -- Tawfiq
2010/02/20 New Straits Times, Malaysia
TAWAU: Malaysia is not destroying its forests to plant oil palm trees, said Sabah Finance Assistant Minister Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan.
He said any allegation pertaining to it was absolutely not true because the country adopted a firm policy and forestry laws that clearly state that forest reserves should remain untouched.
"Our government has identified agriculture and plantation areas. The government has already gazetted those areas," he said, commenting on a campaign by Marks & Spencer against palm oil in the United Kingdom.
According to reports, the British retail chain recently put up five-foot displays in its stores there stating: "We think that destroying rainforests for palm oil is too high a price to pay for a biscuit."
Tawfiq said here today that the International Trade and Industry Ministry and relevant government agencies should explain to the world the true picture about Malaysian forests.
"Actually, people who try to discredit palm oil are those who are jealous of Malaysia''s success in turning the country into one of the world's biggest palm oil producers," he said.
He said Malaysia was transparent in honouring its obligation to preserve its forest reserves and in Sabah, the Forestry Department had set up several huts in the forest solely to take care it.
He did not deny forest encroachment by some irresponsible people but such were isolated cases, Tawfiq said. -- BERNAMA