Opposition criticises govt’s new slogan to promote palm oil, calling it ‘dangerous’

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KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MP Hanipa Maidin claims that changing the Malaysian palm oil campaign’s slogan to “Palm oil is God’s gift” may have a detrimental impact on the country.

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The Sepang MP said using “God” in the slogan may cause Western nations to associate it to shariah compliance, especially with anti-palm oil sentiments increasing in European countries.

“We need to understand when we mention God, they will think it is linked to shariah-compliance.

“The minister is carrying out a campaign that is dangerous to the country,” he said during the debate on the plantations and commodities ministry’s 2021 Budget.

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Hanipa, who was a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in the previous administration, also questioned the rationale for changing the previous campaign slogan “Love My Palm Oil”, which was introduced by the former Pakatan Harapan government last year.

On July 23, Plantation and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali told the Dewan Rakyat that the ministry would fight growing anti-palm oil sentiment around the world with a new slogan: “Palm oil is God’s gift”.

The Kuala Nerus MP from PAS said at the time that the change was to fight widespread criticism about palm oil’s negative impact on the environment.

In 2018, the European Parliament voted to ban the use of palm oil for the production of biofuels in the European Union (EU) by 2020, claiming that it wanted to stop the destruction of rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Khairuddin said Malaysia could not afford to always be on the defensive when it comes to the commodity but must take proactive actions and promote its benefits. – FMT

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