PUTRAJAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has challenged Malaysia to emulate Indonesia’s move to introduce a higher biodiesel mandate — the B20 biodiesel fuel — by 2020 and become the world’s top biodiesel-producing country.

The Prime Minister noted that neighbouring Indonesia has surpassed Malaysia as the largest palm oil producer and that it has already introduced B20 biodiesel (a blend of 20% palm methyl ester and 80% petroleum diesel) in 2016 in its transportation sector.

In comparison, the transportation sector in Malaysia is currently still using the B7 biodiesel fuel, with the B10 version to be implemented in full force only February in next year.

Speaking at the launch of the B10 biodiesel programme for the transportation sector, Mahathir pointed out that Indonesia has managed to reduce the import of diesel and strengthen its palm industry and the country’s economy since its move to B20.

“Malaysia’s palm industry should be bold to explore new market and prove to the world that the quality of our palm oil is among the best.

“I hope all quarters will be fully equipped and ready to introduce B20 biodiesel fuel by 2020. This biodiesel programme is vital to our country because our palm trees are our golden crop, and have contributed to our economy for so long.

“The use of palm biodiesel will impact positively on our palm industry by reducing our palm oil stocks and subsequently stabilise its price,” he said during the launch at Dataran Putra, here, today.

The B10 programme was first announced by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok last month.

Mahathir said this programme would encompass all diesel vehicles, adding that the move would improve air quality through the reduction of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases emission by 1.6 million tonne each year.

Mahathir also said there was a need to ensure that only diesel vehicles capable of running on B10 fuel be sold in the country in the future, saying this programme should also be taken into consideration in the National Automotive Policy currently being drafted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

“I urge all vehicle makers and original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) work together with the government to ensure the success of the B10 programme and future ones,“ he said.

On the various negative opinions and remarks against the production of palm oil, particularly from the European Union (EU), Mahathir said these were merely part of their strategies to halt palm oil from competing in the international market as it is relatively cheaper than other fuels.

“To combat these accusations, the government has taken initiative to introduce a sustainable certification scheme, including the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, but these importing countries continue to be stubborn by implementing various sanctions.

“I would like to stress that the government will continue to preserve the environment and will try to debunk all these accusations hurled at the palm oil industry through any means possible,“ he said.

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