The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry will conduct a survey with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the alleged use of child labour in the palm oil sector.
The cabinet has last week approved RM5 million to conduct the survey as Malaysia aims to delist from the United States Labour Department’s List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labour.
“We have been listed since 2014 and we want Malaysia’s palm oil to be taken out from the said list.
“Malaysia needs to come up with a report with ILO and we have the fund to do it now,” said Minister Mah Siew Keong, as reported by NST.
The ministry would conduct the study swiftly to complete it by this year.
“Malaysia will then request the US to remove our palm oil sector from the list next year,” said Mah.
He pointed out that some quarters who had complained about child labour had actually misunderstood the issue as many palm oil farmers sometimes would bring along their children to work.
“When the children tagged along, they will help their parents. This is a traditional practice. It is not a child labour issue. In fact, child labour is not even an issue in Malaysia’s palm oil sector,” Mah said.
On Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification effort, he said Malaysia would send its first MSPO certified consignment to Europe by the end of 2017.
Malaysia targets to send five million tonnes of certified MSPO palm oil to Europe by 2019.