Malaysia is going for a greener diesel in February next year.
Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday launched the B10 Biodiesel Programme that will see the fuel — comprising 10% palm oil biodiesel and 90% fossil diesel — being used by all types of diesel vehicles in the transportation sector beginning Feb 1, 2019.
The use of 10% palm oil biodiesel in Malaysia for vehicles such as four-wheel-drive vehicles, lorries and buses will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year, he said.
The B10 programme will contribute in reducing the emission of CO2 by 10% per year from the total number of diesel vehicles in the country, he said when launching the B10 Biodiesel Programme at Dataran Putra in Putrajaya.
“The air quality, especially in the urban areas, will also increase through the use of biodiesel with the reduced emission of dust and black smoke into the air. The implementation of the B10 programme is apt at this time in view of the lower price of palm oil biodiesel compared to petroleum diesel,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also urged vehicle manufacturers as well as original equipment manufacturers to cooperate with the government in ensuring a smooth implementation of the B10 programme, as well as any biodiesel programmes in the future.
“Malaysia needs to increase the fuel mixture in the future to strengthen domestic demand for palm oil,” he said.
Citing Indonesia’s B20 programme of 20% of palm oil biodiesel and 80% fossil diesel in the transportation sector which has no problems since 2016, Dr Mahathir said he hopes that all parties will be ready to increase the mixing rate to B20 by 2020.
“The use of palm oil biodiesel will have a positive impact on the palm oil industry by reducing palm oil stocks and stabilising palm oil prices. Through this effort, 650,000 palm oil smallholders will continue to enjoy more stable palm oil prices with increased revenue,” he said.
The country’s biodiesel programme would also help the country to achieve its low-carbon mobility objective as outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan, he said.
Dr Mahathir also wants the biodiesel programme to be given serious thought in the National Automotive Policy, currently being drafted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
“We, by right, should ensure that in the future, only vehicles that can use more than 10% of biodiesel are sold in Malaysia,” the PM said.
The government will continue to fend off, through whatever means within its capability, all the accusations hurled at palm oil which cite it as the leading cause of deforestation and destruction of the biodiversity.
To counter the allegations, the PM said, the government has taken the initiative to create certification schemes such as the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil but the importing countries have stubbornly imposed various sanctions against palm oil.
“I would like to emphasise that the government will continue to preserve the environment. At present, the forest cover in Malaysia is about 55.3% of the country’s total land area.
“This exceeds the government’s commitment made during the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 to ensure that at least 50% of Malaysia’s land area is covered by forests,” he said. — Bernama