By The Sun (18 November 2014) KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs have urged the government to increase the spend rate in promoting palm oil as it is losing significant export sales compared to last year. Although it is a valid concern to slash the 2015 budget from RM16 million to RM10 million in 2014 to counter the anti-palm oil campaigns, Wong Chen (PKR-Kelana Jaya) urged the government to review the allocation. He said the price of crude palm oil is low at RM2,200 per metric tonne and Malaysia is losing significant export sales. "According to statistics from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), a Malaysian export to major buyers for the period January to October 2014, compared to the same period last year, has seen a drop of 530,000 metric tonnes," Wong Chen told a press conference today. He also noted that the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, which is responsible for the development of the industry, has also seen a budget cut from RM25 million in 2014 to RM14.5 million for 2015. "Overall, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry has allocated a
mere RM24.5 million to defend and promote palm oil.
"Palm oil is a RM80 billion export industry. To spend a mere RM24.5 million, which represents just 0.03% of the total export, to defend and promote palm oil is a joke.
"What is the appropriate spend rate for marketing and promoting of palm oil?" Wong Chen asked.
He said the US Department of Agriculture spends close to 1% of its total export earnings to promote American agriculture produce, where in 2013 it recorded a total of US$144 billion of which RM1.3 billion was spent for marketing the exports.
"If we use the department's spend rate of 1% as a guide, the ministry should spend about RM800 million a year to defend and promote palm oil.
"As such, we urge the ministry to increase its spending to a more reasonable amount of RM200 million a year to turn around and safeguard the future of this industry," Wong Chen said.