Jabu slams Aussie senatorAuthor: Admin | Filed under: Palm Oil Local News
By Sharon Ling
22 May, 2011
Tan Sri Alfred Jabu has lashed out at Australian Independent senator Nick Xenophon for introducing a bill that will impose conditions on palm oil in food products.
The deputy chief minister said Xenophon‚Äôs bill was made out of ignorance.
‚ÄúI believe the senator has never been to Sarawak. He should visit the state and meet me so that I can tell him the world is not a level playing field,‚ÄĚ Jabu said.
Xenophon‚Äôs bill called for palm oil to be listed as a specific ingredient in food labels, including labelling of certified sustainable palm oil by manufacturers to show that they were sourced from sustainable plantations.
Besides the senator, Jabu wanted developed countries and foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to stop criticising Malaysia on environmental issues until the country has gained developed status.
He said it was unfair for them to condemn Malaysia‚Äôs efforts to become developed.
‚ÄúThe world is not a level playing field. There are developed countries and there are developing and undeveloped countries.
‚ÄúIn the next nine years we want to achieve poverty eradication and developed status. When we reach a level playing field, then we can face the onslaught of criticism.
‚ÄúGive us time and breathing space while we become a developed nation before condemning us,‚ÄĚ he said when opening Toastmasters International District 87‚Äôs first annual convention here yesterday.
Jabu, who was representing Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, added that foreign NGOs should remember that their forefathers burnt down forests in their own countries one or two hundred years ago before they became developed.
‚ÄúWe developing countries can ask them to pay for the sins of the past of burning forests and releasing greenhouse gases before they can open their mouths to condemn us,‚ÄĚ he said.
He added that NGOs who were unfriendly to Malaysia or Sarawak did not want to understand the needs and challenges of development and poverty eradication, particularly in rural areas.
‚ÄúTo deliver developed status to rural areas, we have to be abreast of the challenges there, such as lack of accessibility, difficult terrain and poor communications,‚ÄĚ he said.
On achieving developed nation status by 2020, Jabu said everyone should understand the need to work together in unity, mutual respect and understanding towards the goal.
‚ÄúWe should learn how to avoid quarrels and differences in the spirit of ‚Äėsegulai sejalai‚Äô (together in unity). If people have a common cause and work together, we can prevent differences from widening and enhance greater networking,‚ÄĚ he said, adding that Toastmasters could help to convey this message through their role as communicators.
Toastmasters International District 87 comprises 137 clubs in Indonesia, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.