PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s initiatives to use palm-based biodiesel as fuel will reduce stock and stabilise commodity prices amid attempts by others to restrict its export and sales, said the Prime Minister.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who drove home the point when he arrived for the launch of the B10 biodiesel at the wheel of a Peugeot 508, said such efforts would also be beneficial to the environment, lessening pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Peugeot 508 uses the B10 biodiesel.
Dr Mahathir said he wanted the biodiesel programme to be given due attention in the National Automotive Policy currently being drafted by the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Among the things to be considered was to only allow diesel vehicles that use more than 10% biodiesel to be sold in Malaysia.
“The biodiesel initiative is important because oil palm is our golden crop and helps generate the economy. Through this effort, 650,000 smallholders will continue to enjoy stable commodity prices and higher income,” he said at the launch of the B10 biodiesel programme for the transportation sector.
The use of B10 biodiesel – a blend of 10% palm methyl ester and 90% petroleum diesel – by the transportation sector will be made mandatory on Feb 1 next year.
The ruling affects diesel-using vehicles such as lorries, buses, pick-up trucks and even private cars.
However, vehicles using Euro 5 diesel will be exempted.
The government will also be making it mandatory for the industrial sector to use B7 biodiesel from July 1 next year.
These measures are expected to encourage domestic palm oil uptake of around 761,000 metric tonnes and contribute towards greenhouse gas emission savings of 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly.
“I believe the B10 programme for the transportation sector will help spur high demand for palm oil locally.
“And the B7 programme to be implemented later will complete the country’s biodiesel programme.
“Malaysians should be proud of our own biodiesel product that is being used as renewable energy and our contribution towards efforts in tackling global climate change,” said Dr Mahathir.
He said efforts by palm oil producing countries, including Malaysia, to come up with renewable energy or palm-based biodiesel faced negative response from the international community, such as the European Union and non-governmental groups.
“The attacks are part of their strategy to block palm oil from competing in the international market.
“It is because the commodity is relatively cheaper than other oil and is beneficial to health. As a result of continuous attacks, palm oil has been given a bad reputation,” he said.