Malaysia: Palm oil to pay for military equipment

Malaysia: Palm oil to pay for military equipment

Malaysia is in talks with at least six countries on the possible use of palm oil to pay for arms, as Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy seeks to replace old equipment to boost its defense capabilities.

Costs have been a hurdle to updating its defenses, but using palm oil to help pay for equipment could open new avenues to upgrade, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said in 2019.

Mohamad said discussions on paying with palm oil had started with China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran.

“If they are prepared to accept a palm barter trade, we are very willing to go in that direction,” Mohamad said. “We have a lot of palm oil.”

Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s two largest palm oil producers, supply about 85% of palm oil globally. Much of it is used in food but also in items such as lipstick and soap.

Besides new ships, Malaysia was also keen to acquire long-range surveillance aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and fast intercept boats, the minister said.

The planned barter was part of a 10-year defense policy considered in Parliament in 2019, which Mohamad said would focus on boosting naval capabilities, including in the disputed South China Sea.

“We want this region to remain peaceful and neutral,” Mohamad said.  Reuters