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The Green Life: Native Malaysians' Big Win Over Palm Oil

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April 02, 2010

Native Malaysians' Big Win Over Palm Oil

Court photo Malaysia's palm oil fields have long been responsible for rainforest destruction and adding to the nation's list of 15 critically endangered and 125 threatened species. To boot, the oil has been linked to heart disease more than than soy, olive, and canola oils.

On Wednesday, those most at risk to the oil's effects won big. More than a decade after suing the Sarawak state government for leasing their land (and source of livelihood) to a subsidiary of the oil-making IOI Group, a Miri High Court deemed the leases of Kayan land in a Tinjar River community "null and void" because they had been issued unconstitutionally. The ruling added that the plaintiffs' rights had been violated and that IOI is trespassing.

Palm oil is in everyday products like candy, margarine, and soap, though health and environmental experts have advocated for reducing its use.

--Nicholas Mukhar

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