KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) will be launching the National AgriCommodity Policy (DAKN) 2021-2030 early next year to be used as a reference for the country’s commodity sectors, namely oil palm, rubber, timber, pepper, cocoa and kenaf.

Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said the policy has been fully prepared and would be tabled in the Cabinet soon.

“Once it is ready, it will be used as a reference for the country’s commodities especially on the aspect of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) which is of our main concerns to date,” she told Bernama during the Malaysian Wood Moulding and Joinery Council (MWMJC) 40th Anniversary and book launch on Friday.

She said it is crucial for stakeholders in the industry to follow the policy which is the future direction of the country and to avoid being the target, especially by the US and the EU.

Meanwhile, in her speech, Zuraida said Malaysia’s palm oil and rubber sectors are constantly being the headline by the western media namely on the forced labour allegation hence, she urged the timber industry to be prepared in terms of the labour force and housing on workers.

“We need to be mindful with the aspect of ESG as it will affect our capability and market potential,” she said.

DAKN 2021-2030 is drafted to replace the National Commodity Policy (DKN) 2011-2020 in an effort to drive the development of the sector in a more sustainable, competitive and market-oriented manner.

To recap, Malaysia, the world second-largest palm oil producer, has pledged to limit its oil palm cultivated area at 6.5 million hectares, ban the conversion of permanent forest reserved area for oil palm cultivation and not allow new planting in peatland areas.

Secretary-general Datuk Ravi Muthayah said DAKN 2021-2030 would be focusing on five key thrusts, including sustainability and inclusivity.

“These two will cover the ESG in terms of ensuring the regulatory aspect of the industry as well as the effectiveness of our delivery programmes.

“All these are not new. In fact, we have been incorporating the key thrusts in the certification scheme before this, such as in the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO),” he said.

On the labour shortage issue, she said the government would allow for more foreign labour into other sectors soon.

“But for the entry of 32,000 foreign workers, they will be channelled into the plantation sector first and it is likely that the government will open up recruitment space for other industries in the near future,” she said.

MWMJC chairman George Yap said overall, the timber industry required about 50,000 foreign labour.

“We are currently in need of this foreign labour as our local talent does not want to join the industry. There is also a need to attract new talent to the industry and to develop new and innovative products,” he said.

The MPIC set the export of timber-related products to reach RM24 billion next year from the RM22 billion recorded in 2020, driven by exploring new markets such as Central Asia, the Middle East and Oceania.


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