April 27, 2020 / 3:05 AM / 2 months ago

Malaysia's top palm oil state reopens company jetties

FILE PHOTO: A Sime Darby Plantation worker shows palm oil fruits at a plantation in Pulau Carey, Malaysia, January 31, 2020. Picture taken January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Private jetties that were shut in Malaysia’s biggest palm oil producing state of Sabah due to coronavirus-related curbs have been allowed to reopen, state news agency Bernama reported.

“We took note of all the views from various parties including the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, industry players and smallholders affected by the inability to ship the fresh fruit bunches,” Sabah deputy chief minister Wilfred Madius Tangau was quoted saying by Bernama on Sunday.

Jetties would be closed again if there was an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, he added.

More than 16 private jetties operated by Sabah plantation companies to ship fresh fruit bunches, crude palm oils and palm kernels were temporarily closed following an April 17 order from the local port authority.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Association on Saturday warned that the closure would hit the state’s palm oil exports.

Sabah accounts for about 25% of the total palm oil produced in Malaysia, the world’s second biggest producer and exporter of the edible oil after Indonesia.

Malaysia is under a March 18-May 12 partial lockdown to contain the virus, which has so far infected 5,780 people in the country and led to 98 deaths. Many industries such as palm plantations have been allowed to operate with reduced staffing.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; editing by Richard Pullin

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