Malaysia’s implementation of the B20 biodiesel programme in Sabah and Peninsula Malaysia has been postponed again for an indefinite period, The Edge Markets reported on 2 June.

The mandate to manufacture biofuel with a 20% palm oil component – known as B20 – for the transport sector had first been rolled out in January 2020, and had been set to be fully implemented across the country by mid-June 2021.

However, the plans to step up the programme had been delayed last April due to curbs on movement imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest decision was due to the rise in COVID-19 cases as well as the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO), according to sources with knowledge on the matter, the report said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the movement of manpower by petroleum companies in the preparation process for biodiesel blending in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia,” they were quoted as saying.

The sources added that discussions with involved parties were being held to discuss a more realistic implementation date, subject to the MCO, The Edge Markets wrote.

The implementation of the B20 biodiesel programme was still ongoing in Langkawi, Labuan and Sarawak without any changes, they added.

Some sources had also attributed the delay to high crude palm oil (CPO) prices, which made blending biodiesel too expensive, The Edge Markets said.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) director-general Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir had said at the virtual Palm Oil Economic Review and Outlook Conference 2021 that B20 would be introduced in Sabah in June and in Peninsular Malaysia in December.

Sarawak had started the roll-out of B20 in September 2020, while Labuan and Langkawi had started their roll-out of B20 in January 2020, according to The Edge Markets.

Speaking at the virtual Palm and Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference earlier this year, Malaysian Biodiesel Association (MBA) president UR Unnithan had said the B20 mandate in Malaysia was expected to use 1M tonnes of CPO, according to the report.