Can plantations thrive without a ministry?
Mahbob Abdullah | 08 Jun 2018 00:30
Like most of the people who were silent, I had gone out to vote hoping for a change but did not expect to get a surprise win as big as this. As in some past elections, the opposition had been surprised at how well it had done, and did not get to decide what to do. Perhaps that was how we got to be late in choosing our cabinet members, and which ministry should survive. Many are wondering if there will be a Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) to carry on the industry’s efforts to grow.
I have been involved in the planting industry for over 50 years, and seen it grow to cover many aspects of life. Now palm oil sales reach over RM60 bil a year, and higher if the spin-offs are added, including use in oleochemicals, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
With the election victory, it is timely to say that the industry must get its due attention because of its role in the economy. In the past, the help had come through the Ministry of Primary Industries, and palm oil had an impetus of its own. Now with the successor the MPIC, it has followed up with research on increasing productivity, while promoting wider uses of palm oil, finding new markets, and fighting off competition.
These competitors cannot see how they can survive at the rate palm oil is gaining market share. The MPIC has worked closely with the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (research) and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (marketing) to pursue the interests of our major crop. In addition, we have the Malaysian Estate Owners Association, whose members have interests in estates, who also depend on the help of the government in any effort that is required.
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