It was more than a decade since the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) took over the task of nurturing the national palm oil industry. Since then, many battles against those who question the value of palm oil on health grounds have been won.
But fresh fires are being lit by palm oil detractors, who have shifted their focus onto the environment battlefront. Now these efforts play on the populist sentiments surrounding ozone depletion, global warming and the resultant climate change.
The very existence of palm oil plantations is being questioned for its alleged contribution to species and biodiversity loss, with the carving out of plantations purportedly impacting the future of wildlife in their jungle habitats.
This undue attention has moved to the orang utan, whose love-able features, apparent childlike innocence and helpless vulnerability have turned the primate into a valuable mascot with which to attack palm oil.