Oil palm greed and continued atrocities against orang utans
To the wicked, everything serves as pretext. A few weeks ago, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok was reported to have said that the government may consider organising a “balik kampung” exercise for displaced orang utans. His curious comments clearly came as a feverish remedy to counter claims that the orang utan habitat in Malaysia is being destroyed by palm oil producers.
In June, the Australian senate passed the Food Standards Amendment (Truth in Labelling - Palm Oil) Bill 2010, a bill that would compel all producers, manufacturers and distributors’ of food containing palm oil to have it listed on the content label of their products.
That conscientious move was followed by furious months of Malaysian ministry minions dashing off to Australia to recondition the minds of Australian lawmakers with regards to policies on palm oil labelling. And they appear to have succeeded for the government of Gillard has since proclaimed its support for its counterparts in inhumane crime.
While the proposed Bill is being tabled at the parliamentary level, Dompok, Gillard and their gang of governing goblins are making debauched attempts to mask the ugly truth of legalised palm oil propagation.
In Australia, Dr. Craig Emerson, the Trade Minister, had declared the Bill as “anti-trade in nature”. It is in fact anti-nature in trade! The Bill was therefore expectedly and woefully rejected by Australia's House of Representatives Economics Committee, the second committee to do so since it was tabled in Parliament.
In Malaysia, resounding ridiculous rants were made courtesy of Yusof Basiron, Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, who viciously and fallaciously accused the Melboune Zoo of animal cruelty. Basiron shrieked bloody murder and claimed Melbourne Zoo was abusing and neglecting the orang utans in their custody. His slanderous tongue went on to condemn the zoo for not having adequate and appropriate enclosures for the orang utans. He painted an agonising picture of abused orang utans being subjected to cruelty the likes of mercury poisoning!
I of course read the statement in lockjaw silence and was perplexed in the extreme by the groundless charges against Melbourne Zoo. Having myself visited Melbourne Zoo at around the same time as alleged by Basiron, I found his “findings” confounding. The extent of the ferocious fabrication by the palm oil chief made his scheming intentions obvious for it was undoubtedly provoked by Melborne Zoos campaign against palm oil.
Melbourne Zoo has earnestly embarked on a campaign to educate the general public on the revolting role palm oil producers’ play in the destruction of orang utan habitats.
Palm Oil producers have all but pillaged most of our resplendent rainforest and swampy peat lands in the name of profit and in doing so has made Palestinians of our orang utans. Displaced and stripped of their homes, orang utans are hunted, poached or killed courtesy of greedy palm oil producers.
Basiron, in venting his barely repressed resentment towards Melbourne Zoo, has in turn made a spectacle of himself by ostentatiously calling upon Australians to come hither and visit our world famous zoos. Basiron, the bogus bastion of animal welfare, proceeded to extol sickening praise upon the very entities that have a nasty reputation of torturing animals in captivity.
Using a compound of immorality, foolishness and malice, Basiron exhorted Melbourne Zoo to come and learn proper animal care from Malaysian zoos. What an idiotic plot to conceal the authenticated facts and reality of palm oil propagation.
Such gross lack of judgement is not becoming of the chief of a 60 billion ringgit industry. But one should suppose that protecting a RM60 billion ringgit enterprise would necessitate the character assassination of Melbourne zoo, whose treatment of animals stands in stark contrast to our horrific zoos.
The recent seizures of more than 200 animals from three Malaysian zoos are in itself reflective of the repulsiveness of Malaysian zoos. Their roughshod treatment of orang utans and other animals have become disgracefully legendary!
Though activist and conservationist continue to make valiant attempts to rehabilitate and reintroduce baby orang utans, known as “oil palm orphans” back into the wild, their accomplishments are very quickly fouled by further felling.
And though conscientious Australian legislators are still lobbying for the labelling of palm oil products, illegal loggers, palm oil developers and cruel governments remain the chief brokers in the future of orang utans. And while they gang rape our natural habitat they shall inevitably share in the general collapse of our humanity!
* The writer is President, Malaysian Animal Welfare Society