Embark on biodiesel plan, Yong tells Sabah govt

Yong Teck Lee says Sabah should capitalise on the fact that the palm oil industry is now a major contributor to the state’s economy.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has been urged to embark on a biodiesel plan following the federal government’s decision to use B20 biodiesel for motor vehicles from next year.

B20 biodiesel is 20% palm oil and 80% petroleum diesel.

Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee said the state government should not stop at producing only cooking oil in its effort to strengthen the palm oil industry.

Instead, he said the government should consider producing biodiesel since the palm oil industry is now a major contributor to the state’s economy,

Yong said biodiesel fuel consumption will also help Sabah reduce its dependency on imported diesel.

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal recently announced that the state government will set up its own cooking oil plants this year to offer cheaper cooking oil for Sabahans.

Welcoming the initiative, Yong said the production of cooking oil will benefit the state by way of import substitution.

He said it will add value to Sabah’s palm oil industry, create jobs and stimulate the economy.

The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president believed that locally produced cooking oil will also help to bring down prices of the basic necessity and reduce the need for government subsidies for cooking oil.

He said the government should not focus only on the local market but should target the BIMP-EAGA (East Asean Growth Area) as well.

Cooking oil produced on the east coast including Sandakan and Lahad Datu can easily be marketed to the neighbouring southern Philippines and Kalimantan in Indonesia, he said.

In addition, Yong said the government does not need to spend too much if it utilises the infrastructure and facilities already in place in the Palm Oil Industrial Clusters (POICs) in Sandakan and Lahad Datu.

“These POICs are ideal locations for both a biodiesel plant and the proposed manufacturing plants to produce cooking oil,” he said.