DANGEROUS HERBICIDE -
Paraquat, the most
deadly weed killer
Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) is totally
shocked to hear that the government has decided to
reconsider the ban on Paraquat, which is the most deadly
weedkiller, scheduled under Class 1(B) of the Pesticides Act
1974. The shocking and unbelievable decision was announced
today in The New Straits Times (April 15,2005).
report, the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said the Ministry has decided to
review the ban after “presentations” were made to his
ministry by small holders and “key” industry players.
is crystal clear that the Minister had caved in to the
pressures and persuasions of these ‘small holders’ and ‘key’
Industry players, “comments PAN
executive director, Sarojeni V. Rengam.
disappointed at the recent development because the
reconsideration of the ban on one of the most dangerous
poisons in the world has serious implications vis-à-vis
protection of workers and farmers health and rights to safe
working environment. The ban should take effect in July this
year, but the government’s action only goes to show that
once again, the Industries profits overide the health
considerations of the people.
When the ban
was announced in 2003, NGOs, public interests groups,
doctors and medical associations in Malaysia and other parts
of the world had applauded the Malaysian government’s
decision to ban and phase out the use of Paraquat. Now
Malaysia’s reputation in the eyes of the world is at stake.
were the first country in Asia to announce the ban. This
decision was taken by consultation with the different
ministries based on human health concerns and because of
available alternatives. What a shame that now the government
has gone back on its word! Indeed, Malaysia Boleh!”
the most important product of Syngenta—the worlds’ biggest
agrochemical company. The ban comes after more than ten
years of struggle by PAN AP and local partner, Tenaganita,
to end the continued poisonings suffered by plantation
workers—especially pesticides sprayers who are mostly women.
In view of
the current problem, we want the Minister to consider the
following questions before the Cabinet makes a total
decision on the ban of Paraquat.
Pesticides Board is to be commended on the numerous and
exhaustive steps and measures they have taken to consult the
Pesticides and Palm Oil Industry, NGOs and the workers on
the issue. Consultations and assessment done with various
departments and Ministries within the government – Ministry
of Health – which had also concurred on the ban.
are these consultations being ignored?
2. During the
second round of consultations undertaken with the Ministry
of Health, at the beginning of the 3rd year of the phase
out, the outcome and recommendations of the session, was for
the ban to stay.
took place between that consultation session and now, that
is so significant that the Ministry has suddenly gone back
on its word and reversed its decision to stay the Paraquat
mid-2004, Datuk Shafie Hj Aqdal, Deputy Minister of
Agriculture himself had asserted that there should be no
more questions about the matter and that the ban has to
stay. Also, all aspects of the issue were looked at by all
the different departments and ministries.
the Minister changed his mind? What is the rationale for the
ban other than “presentations” made by small holders and
“key” industry players?
is not necessary. For example, Golden Hope plantation does
not use Paraquat. It is business as usual for the company
without the poison.
is the excuse then for the Malaysian Palm Oil Plantation to
call for the repeal of the ban?
are completely saddened that the Malaysian government has
totally no regard for this year’s World Health
Organisation’s Day which focuses on mothers and children,
thumbed “Make Every Mother and Child Count”, who are the
most important and basic unit of the nation.
“With this ban, it is crystal clear that the Malaysian
government, who promotes the concept of “Caring Society”, is
forsaking the proven health impacts of Paraquat, especially
on women plantation workers and their children,”
Paraquat ban is repealed, it is a sad and black day for
justice, for farmers and agricultural workers, for women and
children, who are the most oppressed and marginalised
communities in the country.
Rengam, Executive Director, Pesticide Action Network (PAN)
Asia and the Pacific, Penang, Malaysia. Tel: +604 657 0271/
+604 656 0381. Email:
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia and the Pacific, Penang,
Malaysia. Handphone: +60 16-4133077 Email:
Mourin, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia and the Pacific,
Penang, Malaysia. Tel: +604 657 0271/ +604 656 0381. Email: