Govt Working On Lifting Us Restrictions On Palm Oil Says Minister
Palm oil and palm oil products made by FGV Holdings Berhad now face restrictions by US authorities.PETALING JAYA: Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali says his ministry is working to ensure the country’s agricultural products are free of restrictions.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) yesterday said it would detain palm oil and palm oil products made by FGV Holdings Berhad effective today following allegations of forced and child labour.
In a statement today, Khairuddin said the plantation industries and commodities ministry had presented a study on the labour situation in the country’s oil palm plantations to the Cabinet on July 24.
“The final report will be submitted to the US Department of Labour (DoL) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). This is one of the initiatives taken to remove the Malaysian oil palm plantation sector from the TVPRA list,” he said, referring to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act under US law.
“(We) hope this measure will prevent restrictions (from being imposed) on the country’s agricultural products in the future.”
He said Malaysia’s palm oil sector was placed on the DoL’s list of goods produced by child labour or forced labour in 2009 in line with the TVPRA.
In a statement yesterday, CBP said the detention order followed a year-long investigation into FGV that revealed forced labour indicators, including restriction of movement, physical and sexual violence, withholding of wages and excessive overtime.
The investigation also raised concerns that “forced child labour is potentially being used in FGV’s palm oil production process”.
Expressing its disappointment on the restriction, FGV today said measures had been taken to correct the situation and that the company did not tolerate any form of human rights infringements or criminal offence in its operations.
“FGV’s efforts are well documented and available in the public domain,” it said. - FMT
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