KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to exploit toil palm waste from the
state’s 1.4mil ha of plantations with the setting up of a biomass
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said that
instead of becoming an environmental hazard, oil palm waste such as
fronds, harvested fruit bunches and trunks could be collected to
generate electricity, make plastic composites and fertilisers.
this regard, he said the state government was considering financing the
setting up of a biomass collection operation through its wholly owned
POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd.
“This will give investors an assurance of the
availability of raw materials, and at prices commercially viable for
the biomass industry to take off.
“The collection operation is
expected to alleviate problems of oil palm mill waste disposal,
especially for harvested fruit bunches that emit methane, a greenhouse
“It is also in line with the oil
palm industry’s move towards earning the sustainability label,” he said
at the joint ground-breaking ceremony of eight companies setting up
operations at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in the east coast
Lahad Datu district yesterday.
Musa noted that currently, the
development of downstream biomass industries was hampered by the absence
of a supply and pricing mechanism.
“Investors are in a dilemma
because there is a lot of biomass, but they cannot access the biomass to
turn into high-value products,” he said, adding that details of the
proposed biomass collection centre was still being worked out.
said they wanted to boost development in the eastern part of Sabah to
narrow the regional development imbalance, and to make it a player in
the BIMP-EAGA region.
“In extraordinary times, we need to adopt
measures that put us a step ahead of others and POIC Lahad Datu is a
step in the right direction,” Musa said.
He also said that POIC
Sabah was devising a plan to encourage handicraft and souvenir-making
using oil palm waste materials such as shells to support the state’s
growing tourism industry.
Musa said that initiatives under the
New Economic Model, the Sabah Development Corridor Blueprint, the POIC
and the Kota Kina-balu Industrial Park would help lead Sabah to an
unprecedented economic transformation.
He said the Lahad Datu
POIC had so far attracted 25 investors with some RM1.8bil worth of
He said another potentially revolutionary approach
was the introduction of narrow-gauge railways linking plantations to
“It may be a way out of the perennial
complaint about poor road conditions and linkage that lead to high
transportation costs,” said Musa.
The eight companies to set up
operations at the Lahad Datu POIC are Felda Agricultural Services
Sdn Bhd, Taiko Fertilizers Sdn Bhd, Behn Meyer & Co (Malaysia) Sdn
Bhd, Lahad Datu Edible Oils Sdn Bhd, Agri Borneo Fertilizers Sdn Bhd,
Sawit Raya (Oil) Sabah Sdn Bhd, Blossom Bio-Energy Sdn Bhd and Syarikat