KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is negotiating with several countries to acquire military assets through barter trade, said Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu on Friday (Apr 19).
Pakistan, Russia and China have shown their readiness to accept palm oil in exchange for military equipment, he said at a press conference.
“We have been working towards a barter system and have received a positive response,” said Mohamad Sabu.
He added that the acquisition of defence assets through barter could be a way to reduce the country’s financial burden.
The minister said he will leave for Russia on Saturday for a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart, where barter trade would be among the issues to be discussed.
If the talks were successful, the barter trade could potentially increase the price of palm oil, said Mohamad Sabu.
Commenting on Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s statement last month on the possibility of Malaysia selecting non-European nations to procure military jets, Mohamad Sabu said the decision was not set in stone.
“We are disappointed with the European Union, especially France because Malaysia has purchased a lot of planes from the country, such as AirAsia’s fleet of aircraft and military assets such as the Scorpene submarines.
“However, if they continue their anti-palm oil campaign, Malaysia can buy from other countries but this (is) not final,” he said.
The European Parliament is in the process of banning the use of palm oil in biofuels while a retail chain in the United Kingdom called Iceland had announced they would stop using the commodity in its products.
Malaysia is the top producer of palm oil in the world. Malaysia and Indonesia produce almost 90 per cent of the world’s palm oil.
Anti-palm oil lobbyists are claiming that oil palm cultivation is causing deforestation and contributing to the haze problem when in fact Malaysia practises sustainable oil palm cultivation.