KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) — The 1Malaysia Biomass Alternative Strategy (1MBAS) Initiative launched today will strengthen execution of the National Biomass Strategy and expand the strategy to other sources of the Malaysian biomass, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.
He said the initiative aims to encourage more local and foreign companies to invest and establish partnerships in the biomass industry and accelerate the industry’s growth.
1MBAS would focus on driving new sources of income generation, driving inclusiveness through job creation at all levels and enhance development of new industries through utilisation of biomass, he said.
“This will establish a new source of cutting edge, high-value industries and more skilled jobs for Malaysians.
“In the process, we will be building a pool of Malaysian skilled labour and technology in the biomass industry. This will deliver considerable multiplier benefits to the Malaysian economy,” he said when launching 1MBAS at Parliament building.
To coordinate implementation of the 1MBAS Initiative, the Malaysia Innovation Agency would liaise all activities from the government-side relating to biomass utilisation across sectors, he said.
He said the starting point for 1MBAS would be to coordinate and monitor activities related to the recently launched National Biomass Strategy, which looks at how Malaysia could maximise the potential of its palm oil industry biomass.
The National Biomass Strategy, launched in November last year, provides the platform for creating close to 70,000 new jobs for Malaysians, 40,000 of which will be high-skilled jobs.
Najib said Malaysia’s palm oil industry was the fourth largest contributor to the Gross National Income (GNI), accounting for about eight per cent or almost RM50 billion of the GNI.
He said the oil palm sector generates the largest amount of biomass, estimated at 80 million dry tonnes in 2010, and expected to increase to about 100 million tonnes by 2020.
Najib said optimal oil palm biomass utilisation has the potential to deliver up to RM30 billion in new annual income for Malaysia and all Malaysians by 2020.
“It is however important to act quickly to ensure Malaysia does not lose out on this opportunity,” he stressed.
He said 1MBAS would report the progress and palm oil biomass-related activities to the Palm Oil and Rubber National Key Economic Area Steering Committee jointly headed by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).
Today’s event also saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between local plantation companies, local and international universities as well as downstream companies to demonstrate their commitment to collaborate in developing technologies to convert oil palm biomass to high-value chemicals in a consortium named Oil Palm Biomass Centre.
The centre, a public-private partnership, aims to accelerate technology development for oil palm biomass utilisation.
Source : Bernama