Press statement responding to the allegations made by Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)
1. In reference to the statement made by Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), I would like to reiterate that it is mandatory for companies registered under Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) to recognise land use rights and native customary land rights (NCR).
2. In addition, all entities going for MSPO certification shall have in place, an appropriate conflict and dispute resolution process which has been accepted by all concerned stakeholders.
3. If there are, or have been disputes, documented proof of legal acquisition of land title and fair compensation that have been or are being made to previous owners and occupants will be made available.
4. The documented proof of legal acquisition of land title and fair compensation should be accepted with free prior informed consent (FPIC).
5. The regulations are applicable in Sabah and Sarawak, just as it is in Peninsular Malaysia.
6. MSPO is a national sustainable scheme for palm oil sector in our country which was developed after taking into consideration of Malaysian demographic and socio-economic situation.
7. Under the Principle 3 Compliance to legal requirements, potential certificate applicants are required to prove their land use rights, including:
a) their oil palm cultivation activities do not diminish the land use rights of other users;
b) shall provide documents showing legal ownership or lease, history of land tenure and the actual use of the land: and
8. NCR components are also prominently present in MSPO Standard as one of the criterias in Principle 3. This criterion required potential certificate applicants to recognize and demonstrate efforts towards fair resolution of any NCR claims. These includes:
a) where lands are encumbered by customary rights, the company shall demonstrate that these rights are understood and are not being threatened or reduced;
b) Maps of an appropriate scale showing extent of recognized customary rights shall be made available; and
c) Negotiation and FPIC shall be recorded and copies of negotiated agreements should be made available.
9. In addition, all entities going for MSPO certification shall have in place, an appropriate conflict and dispute resolution process which has been accepted by all concerned stakeholders.
I hope this clarifies to all parties that through MSPO we are striving to produce sustainable palm oil and these covers land rights as well.
YB Teresa Kok
Ministry of Primary Industries
22 July 2019