M'sia plans to give orang utan to palm oil trading partners, Latest World News - The New Paper

M'sia plans to give orang utan to palm oil trading partners

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia plans to introduce “orang utan diplomacy” in its relations with major palm oil-importing countries, offering the animals as trading gifts in an effort to allay concerns about the environmental effects of growing the commodity.

The plan, likened to China’s “panda diplomacy” by the commodities minister, comes after the European Union (EU) approved a ban in 2023 on imports of commodities linked to deforestation, which could hurt palm oil.

Malaysia, the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil after Indonesia, has said the law is discriminatory and aimed at protecting the EU’s oilseeds market. Palm oil is used in everything from lipstick to pizza.

As part of a diplomatic strategy, Malaysia will offer gifts of orang utans to trading partners, particularly major importers such as the EU, India and China, Plantation and Commodities Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said.

“This will prove to the global community that Malaysia is committed to biodiversity conservation,” Mr Johari said on social media platform X late on May 7.

“Malaysia cannot take a defensive approach to the issue of palm oil,” he added.

“Instead we need to show the countries of the world that Malaysia is a sustainable oil palm producer and is committed to protecting forests and environmental sustainability.”

No further details of the plan were immediately available.

On its website, conservation group WWF says the apes, distinguished by its red fur, and a name that means “man of the forest” in Malay, is critically endangered, with a population of fewer than 105,000 on the island of Borneo. – REUTERS

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