Plans to step up the use of 20% palm oil in biodiesel in Malaysia have been delayed due to curbs on movement imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Today reported on 16 April.

The rollout would be paused for regions that have yet to implement it, UR Unnithan, president of the Malaysian Biodiesel Association, told Reuters.

“This might be reviewed after the movement control order is lifted,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Malaysia has had one of the highest numbers of infections in Southeast Asia, with more than 5,000 cases and 85 deaths.

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, and had been set to be fully implemented across the country by mid-June 2021.

Once the movement curb had ended, the mandate would be restarted, Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir, the director general of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, told Reuters in a text message.

Unnithan confirmed that the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry had sent an official letter to petroleum companies and the biodiesel association informing them of the postponement.