The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) donated RM1.5 million to the Sabah Wildlife Department today to conduct a new population survey, especially of the orangutan and pygmy elephants in the state.
MPOC CEO Kalyana Sundram presented a cheque to Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga, during a ceremony here witnessed by Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal and Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Shafie said the government welcomed and supported efforts of outside parties in safeguarding protected wildlife populations, especially that of the orangutan and pygmy elephants in Sabah.
"I am delighted with these efforts, and the state government is also striving to preserve protected wildlife habitats by introducing several policies such as reducing logging activities in the state.
"The effort is also in line with our goal of ensuring the totally protected areas (TPA) of (landmass in) Sabah reaches 30 percent by 2025," he said.
Meanwhile, Shafie said the state government supported and wanted to cooperate in promoting the Love Our Palm Oil (Sayangi Sawitku) campaign.
"We know that Sabah is one of the largest palm oil producing states in Malaysia, and this campaign is very important to ensure smallholders involved in the palm oil industry can be safeguarded as best as they can.
"We want to make sure that we overcome any unfair allegations made by outsiders," he added.
The campaign, launched in January, among others aims to foster the spirit of love and pride in palm oil, appreciation for the commodity and its contribution to the country's economy.