News

Biodiesel mandate remains status quo

NBP remains committed to reduce GHG emissions rate in line with the country’s aspiration towards achieving the GHG emissions reduction target of 45% of GDP by 2030

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

THE Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) has stressed that there will be no policy changes in the existing mandate on the National Biofuel Policy (NBP).

Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin (picture) said the NBP which was rolled out in March 2006, remains committed to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rate in line with the country’s aspiration towards achieving the GHG emissions reduction target of 45% of GDP by 2030.

She added that this includes expanding the use of downstream palm oil products to increase the income of oil palm smallholders through the palm oil market price control mechanism.

Additionally, she said the ministry was also committed to help reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels as one of the energy security initiatives.

“Indonesia declared an export ban on April 28 on cooking oil and its raw material (which lasted until May 23) in the quest to make cooking oil available at affordable prices for its citizens.

“But now that normalcy has resumed and calmer heads have prevailed, MPIC wishes to state that it is all status quo on Malaysia’s biodiesel mandate front,” she said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, Zuraida noted that MPIC assured the Malaysian Biodiesel Association (MBA) that the ministry is all ears to the group’s proposal that Malaysia should retain its existing biodiesel mandate after all.

She said MBA has highlighted why Malaysia should not reduce or stop its biodiesel mandate as the biodiesel industry hardly consumes one million tonnes of palm oil annually opposed to over 40 million tonnes used globally.

She added that MBA had also mentioned that any knee-jerk reaction to banning biofuels derived from vegetable oils would cause havoc in the global vegetable oil market.

“Nevertheless, it has to be highlighted that the concerns came at a ‘chaotic moment’ where MBA was reacting to a viewpoint by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) a day earlier — on April 25, being precise — that both palm oil exporting and importing countries should set their priorities right by “temporarily re-considering food versus fuel priorities,” she said.

Zuraida also recalled that there was an air of desperation back then — Malaysia’s neighbour and the world’s largest palm oil exporter, Indonesia, was on the verge of putting to a halt its shipments of refined, bleached, and deodorised palm olein.

She said this prompted MPOB’s DG Datuk Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir, who is an all-around palm oil expert, to convey such views against the backdrop of a choke in global edible oil supplies amid both adverse weather conditions and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Zuraida also emphasised that disruptions from the geopolitical tension have exacerbated price rises in food commodities which were already running at 10-year highs in the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Index — threatening not only a jump in global malnourishment but a spike in global inflation across both developed, developing and under-developed economies.

“To MBA, we thank them for their invaluable feedback on our big role and the effect of the biofuel policy towards conserving nature for younger generation Malaysians.

“We welcome all constructive criticism or views that can enable both sides of the divide — authorities or industry players — to derive a win-win situation,” she said.

Intan TMR

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