KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Education Ministry said on Wednesday (Jul 3) that action will be taken against an international school which staged a student performance on the negative impact of palm oil.
The stage performance associated the disappearance of orang utans with deforestation and unsustainable palm oil production.
The performance, which also appeared on social media in a video clip, drew criticism on Tuesday from Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok who called it a “disservice” to the country.
In a statement, the Education Ministry’s Director-General Amin Senin said the ministry viewed anti-palm oil propaganda activities seriously, adding that an investigation has been launched into the school.
“The ministry will not compromise on the indoctrination of propaganda elements in private institutions that tarnish the image and name of the country,” he said.
Dr Amin added that the students’ involvement in the activity goes against the country’s policy and could undermine Malaysia’s good name.
He did not specify what action the ministry would take against the school.
Malaysia, the world’s second largest palm oil producer, is fighting against global anti-palm oil sentiments compounded by the European Commission’s decision to phase out palm oil from transport fuel by 2030.
In January, Ms Kok’s ministry rolled out a year-long “Love My Palm Oil” campaign to counter the negative narratives that she said are threatening people’s livelihood. It is estimated that Malaysia has about 600,000 palm smallholders.
In a press conference at parliament on Tuesday, Ms Kok said the international school should not sow anti-palm oil sentiments among students.
She invited the school’s headmaster and teachers to visit the ministry to learn about efforts to improve the industry and environmental conservation undertaken by industry players.
“I didn’t expect such a thing to happen in an international school here. To the teachers please come forward to understand what are doing instead of criticising us," she was quoted as saying by the Star.
“I think they are doing a disservice to the country."