New Delhi / AFP
New industries must be explored to lessen the country’s dependency on traditional commodities, especially in current times when prices are sliding, said Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Najib said developing new industries, like the biomass sector, had great potential for the country.
Malaysia, he said, had set its sight on becoming a premier biomass processing hub in Southeast Asia, an initiative under the national biomass strategy 2020 (NBS2020).
“In order to be a contender, both the states of Sabah and Sarawak, which account for more than 50 per cent of biomass generated in the country, will have to play a key role for this plan to be successful,” he said when launching the Sabah and Sarawak Biomass Industry Development Plan.
Najib outlined why the two states were important in this effort, saying that Sabah had the largest oil palm planted area and milling activities and if 4.8 million dry tonnes of palm oil biomass was utilised for higher value applications, it could help create 3.2 billion ringgit (US$760.7 million) in additional Gross National Income, 13.5 billion ringgit in new investment opportunities and create more than 25,0000 jobs.
Sarawak has a multi-biomass feedstock proposition such as forestry, oil palm, dedicated crops and biomass industry development, which can generate an additional 4.8 billion ringgit in GNI, create 30,000 new jobs and 18 billion ringgit in investment opportunities by utilising about six billion dry tonnes of biomass.
The key biomass clusters are Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau in Sabah and Bintulu, Miri, Tanjung Manis and Kuching in Sarawak.
Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem said the state would integrate biomass as a new industry under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.
“We are confident that a realistic and well-executed biomass development industry can contribute towards Sarawak becoming a high income state in the next four years,” said Adenan, whose speech was delivered by assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Office Len Talif Salleh.