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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 -- The palm oil industry has appealed to the government for RM30 million from the gazetted Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Cess (Amendment) Order 2021 to be used as seed-funding to kick-start the Mechanisation and Automation Research Consortium of Oil Palm (Marcop).
In a joint statement, palm oil associations said the gesture proposed is in line with the government’s thrust and priority on Industry 4.0 and mechanisation-cum-automation which the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities has also been promoting and advocating.
“We will be grateful if the ministry could welcome the associations’ appeal and approve our proposal for an equivalent of RM30 million from the gazetted MPOB (Cess) (Amendment) Order 2021 to be channelled as seed-funding to kick-start Marcop, combined with the RM30 million matching grant approved in Budget 2021,” they said.
The associations comprised Malaysian Palm Oil Association, Malaysian Estate Owners’ Association, National Association for Smallholders Malaysia, Federation of Palm Oil Millers Associations of Malaysia, Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association, Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia, Malaysian Oleochemical Manufacturers Group, Malaysian Agricultural Producers Association, and ncorporated Society of Planters.
They also hoped that there would not be another extra and new cess for the purpose of Marcop, following the recent gazetted additional cess of RM2 as per the MPOB Cess (Order) (Amendment) 2021.
Aside from that, the associations proposed that part of the palm oil levy collected under the Windfall Profit Levy be utilised to sustain Marcop towards assisting the palm oil industry to find solutions in addressing the myriad challenges with the immediate emphasis on mechanisation.
“Serious consideration and adoption of our proposals by the government would be welcomed by the oil palm growers, including the hundreds of thousands of smallholders.
“It is also timely at this juncture for the government to demonstrate in a transparent manner its commitment to reinvest in partnership and together nurture the oil palm industry that it is been taxed ever more heavily by addressing priority challenges including mechanisation,” they said.
They pointed out that the oil palm sector has proven to be one of the very few sectors that have consistently performed positively during the times when the nation's economy was in need of revival such as the recession in the1980s, Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, recession in 2009 and the present COVID-19 pandemic despite the labour shortage.
On Feb 15, Plantation Industry and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali signed a Federal Government Gazette published by the Attorney General’s Chambers which stated that the government has increased cess payment on crude palm produced in Malaysia to RM16 from RM14 per tonne.