Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad have jointly signed a letter addressed to the European Union expressing their objection over the discrimination of palm oil products and its derivatives. Stating that the letter was signed on Sunday (April 4), Maritime Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan addressed reporters at the Coffee Morning event on Monday saying, "Yesterday, the President (Jokowi) signed a joint letter with Prime Minister Mahathir stating our objection to the European Union's plan to ban palm oil (from entering the EU market). The letter was written, signed, and sent by both leaders."

Explaining the contents of the letter, he said that as the world's major oil palm suppliers, the objections expressed by the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia were related to the interests of palm farmers who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.

"The main concern is with regard to the interests of 20 million palm farmers; so, the governments must act on this matter," he said.

He also stressed that the palm oil industry is part of the government's plan to suppress oil imports, which have disrupted the current account balance.

By using technology, palm oil can be converted into various forms of fuel, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, and aviation turbine fuel (ATF) or avtur. "Therefore, we strive to (encourage the palm oil) industry because it does not just impact the farmers, but most people in Indonesia as well, since it determines the energy source that can be used," he remarked.

Regarding the environmental concerns, particularly with regard to the damaging impact of palm plantations on the environment, the minister asked Non-Governmental Organizations and other stakeholders concerned to better study the existing conditions.

He pointed out that environmental issues would also be the government's priority. He stressed that the government would not introduce policies that could damage the environment for future generations.


Translator: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Eliswan Azly
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