SIBU: Sarawak oil palm players want more studies done on the impact of planting oil palm on peat soil.
“We want to have more comprehensive scientitic findings on the impact to the environment and the world climate.
“Anti-palm oil lobbyists and certain non-governmental groups are still using old data and mere assumptions to stop us from planting on peat soil,” Ta Ann Holdings Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Wong Kuo Hea told reporters after the company’s 16th annual general meeting here yesterday.
He said unlike in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, Sarawak uses much more peat soil areas.
“Our local scientists are still doing their studies on the possible impacts and they need time. We expect in a few more years we will have their findings,” he said.
Wong described the appointment of Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah as the new Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities as “very good news” for the state’s oil palm industry.
“He is a local and he knows the state better. We believe we can inter-communicate better. We also hope he can help the industry by providing more funds to finance the studies.
“Of coures we do not expect him to focus solely on Sarawak’s needs alone as he is a minister for the whole country,” Wong said.
On the current low price for palm oil, he said the markets believe the demand would go up with the coming Ramadan month.
“But the peak price is almost around the corner and production is also picking up.
“This year the palm oil price will improve but we do not believe it will go sky-high, it will soften again towards the later part of the year,” he said.
Meanwhile for its financial year ending December 2012, Ta Ann executive chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi said the group registered a revenue of RM790 million while profit before tax was RM77.8million.
He said net profit after tax was RM51.3 million, translating to earnings per share of 15.51 sen.
“Shareholders’ funds grew from RM938 million in the previous year to RM963 million in 2012, while return on equity for the year under review was 6 per cent.
“For the financial year ended Dec 31 2012, the Board declared and paid dividends of five sen per share,” Abdul Hamed said. — Bernama