1MBAS seeks ways for all to enjoy biomass benefits


KUALA LUMPUR: The newly-launched 1Malaysia Biomass Alternative Strategy Initiative (1MBAS) has been tasked to look at ways for all groups to enjoy maximum benefit from opportunities created by developing high-value products from biomass.

The initiative, launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, will among others search for more value-creation opportunities to mobilise Malaysia's biomass by, among others, driving new sources of income generation, driving inclusiveness through job creation at all levels and enhance development of new industries through utilisation of biomass, which will establish a new source for cutting edge, high-value industries and more skilled jobs for Malaysians.

Najib said there was a need to “switch on the innovation enablers” for industries through new collaborations between industry, academia, the Government and the rakyat, adding that there was also a need to build human capital through inclusiveness under the 1Malaysia plan.

“One such source of innovation and value creation is taking the biomass generated by our plantations, forests and municipal waste and mobilising it for higher-value applications,” he said at the launch of 1MBAS.

He said 1MBAS had four objectives, namely to focus and strengthen delivery of the National Biomass Strategy; expand the strategy to other sources of biomass such as forestry, municipal waste and rubber; align stakeholders, public and private sector towards common goal and delivery management of entry point projects with regular reporting and updates to relevant national key economic areas steering committees.

The starting point for 1MBAS would be to co-ordinate and monitor activities related to the national biomass strategy that was assigned to look at how Malaysia could maximise the potential of its palm oil industry biomass, Najib said, adding that the industry was Malaysia's fourth largest contributor to the gross national income (GNI), accounting for about 8% or almost RM50bil of GNI.

This sector, he said, generated the largest amount of biomass at 80 million tonnes in 2010 and expected to increase to about 100 million tonnes by 2020. With the optimal utilisation of oil palm biomass having the potential to deliver up to RM30bil in new annual income by 2020, he said it was important to act quickly to ensure the country would not lose out to the opportunity.

“The 1MBAS launched today (yesterday) will be responsible to strengthen the execution of the national biomass strategy and expanding the strategy to other sources of the country's biomass.

“A priority area for the initiative will be to encourage Malaysian companies to invest in the biomass industry and to attract foreign companies to invest in Malaysia and partner with our companies. To achieve this aspiration, it is crucial for 1MBAS to work with relevant agencies and ministry to present a streamlined and consistent approach to industry and academia,” he said.

Najib said a memorandum of understanding had been signed between local plantation companies, local and international universities and downstream companies to demonstrate their commitment to collaborate on developing technologies to convert oil palm biomass to high value chemicals in a consortium known as Oil Palm Biomass Centre.

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