Malaysia To Offer Incentives To Boost Farm Productivity, Cut Food Imports-PM Mahathir

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 22) — Malaysia will offer several incentives to raise farm productivity, boost farmers’ income and reduce food imports, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Thursday. 

The National Agrofood Policy 2.0 that seeks to detail a roadmap for the farm and food sectors is expected to speed up modernization of the industry, Mahathir Mohamad said at an event in Selangor. 

“The government will implement various initiatives in the agro-food subsector to reduce reliance on food imports via increase in productivity and income of farmers, fishermen and agro-entrepreneurs,” Mahathir said. “Hopefully this will reduce the imbalance in the country’s food trade.”

The focus is aimed at guaranteeing food security in the country where population is expected to rise to 41.2 million in 2040 from last year’s 31.6 million.

The agro-food industry totalled 37.4 billion ringgit ($8.9 billion) in 2017, rising from 36.7 billion ringgit a year earlier, Mahathir said. Farm sector output accounted for 8.17% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product in 2017, edging higher from 8.07% a year earlier. 

– By Pei Ling Gan
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysia To Tender 500 MW Solar Project Worth MYR2 Bln In January-Minister Yeo

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 15) — Malaysia plans to tender two billion ringgit ($478 million) worth of 500 mega-watt solar power project in January next year, the federal minister of energy, science, green technology, climate change and environment said Thursday.

“The government will implement open tenders for the third large-scale solar project (LSS3) with a total capacity of 500MW,” Yeo Bee Yin said in parliament. “Details of the package will be announced in January 2019.”

The push for large solar projects is part of Malaysia’s efforts to raise the renewables energy capacity to 20% of total energy mix by 2025.

“To achieve the 20% target, the government did an analysis via the Electricity Supply and Tariff Planning and Implementation Taskforce and found that about 3,991 mw of renewable energy capacity needs to be added into the electricity supply system,” Yeo said.

Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy has launched two large-scale solar projects with a total capacity of 958 mw. Only 32.5 mw has started operating commercially and the remainder is estimated to go on steam between 2018-end and 2020.

The government will open an electronic bidding for 30 mw biogas project on Nov. 19, and on Nov. 27 bidding process for 10 mw biogas project and a 74 mw mini-hydel project will be launched, Yeo said.

– By Pei Ling Gan
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysia’s Plan To Raise Cash Via Samurai Bonds Has ‘No Strings Attached’- PM Mahathir

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 09) — Malaysia’s plan to raise cheap cash through yen denominated bonds in Japan, popularly known as Samurai Bonds has “no strings attached” to it, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Friday.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had earlier stated the Japanese government’s offer to guarantee 200 billion yen raised via 10-year Samurai bonds at an indicative coupon rate of 0.65% to be issued through the Japan Bank of International Cooperation before March 2019. 

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysia To Soon Present Cabinet Note On B10, B7 Biodiesel Programs-Minister Kok

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KUALA LUMPU (Nov 08) — Malaysia plans to soon present a cabinet note that proposes implementation of B10 and B7 biodiesel programs, the minister for primary industries said Thursday. 

“I’ll present a cabinet paper on the implementation of biodiesel B10 for the transport sector and B7 for the industrial sector soon,” Teresa Kok said at a news conference in Purtrajaya. 

The comments follow last week’s budget announcement that proposed implementation of the B10 and B7 biodiesel programs from the next year. 

The biodiesel program, which aims to blend 10% of palm-based methyl ester with 90% traditional petroleum diesel for sale at retail pumps nationwide, was initially designed in 2013 in-part to cut the Southeast Asian country’s swelling palm oil inventory that weighed on prices of the commodity.

However, the program was deferred multiple times due to concerns over potential damage to vehicle’s engine that may prompt manufacturers to dishonor their warranty pledges. A steep decline crude oil prices in 2014-15 also dimmed appeal of the mixed-fuel program.

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s two top producers of palm oil, will jointly combat anti-pam oil campaigns, Kok said.

Kok said Malaysia and Indonesia reject the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive II, which discriminate against palm oil, and the countries will jointly seek new markets for the commodity that is used in everything from ice creams to lipsticks. 

E.U. lawmakers have approved draft measures to reform the local power market that seek to lower energy consumption to meet broader climate goals. The plan includes a ban on the use of palm oil in motor fuels from 2021.

The EU move comes despite heavy protests from Malaysia and Indonesia which together account for more than 80% of global palm oil output.

“We’re very unhappy with EU. We’re doing our very best. We feel that our efforts are not being appreciated,” Kok added. 

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysia To Save 1.26 Billion Ringgit From Cancelling 4 Power Projects-Minister Yeo

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 25) — Malaysia will potentially save 1.26 billion ringgit ($302.2 million) following cancellation of four power projects, the minister of energy, green technology, science, climate change and environment said Thursday.

The projects – a 700MW gas plant in Kapar by Malakoff Corp and Tenaga Nasional, 1,400 MW gas plant in Paka, Terengganu by Aman Majestic Sdn Bhd and Tenaga Nasional, a 300 MW gas plant in Palm Oil Industrial Cluster, Sandakan by Sabah Development Energy Sdn Bhd and SM Hydro Energy Sdn Bhd and a 400 MW solar power quota to Erda Power Holdings – were cancelled “due to the lopsided terms in favour of the project developers,” Yeo Bee Yin said in parliament.

Future power projects will be awarded through open tendering instead of direct negotiation, Yeo said.

Malaysia’s electricity reserve margin remains at the 32% optimal level and the cancelled projects will not result in any negative financial or legal implication to the government, she said.

The government had earlier said it was considering cancelling up to eight power projects to help boost competitiveness and keep a lid on power generation cost.

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysia To Encourage Investments, Build Plants In Rural Areas Via MIDA

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 19) — Malaysia’s federal government will encourage investments and establish factories in rural areas through state-run Malaysian Investment Development Authority to help erase poverty and shrink rural-urban divide, the deputy trade minister said Friday.

The government’s targeted subsidies, welfare schemes and entrepreneurship programs will help alleviate poverty, Ong Kian Ming said at a conference.

“The idea here is to empower people in rural areas to take advantage of online, cross-border markets,” he said.

He said MIDA will continue to work on incentivizing foreign and domestic direct investments to set up factories and operations in less developed areas.

“We can work with state governments to build niche clusters based on local resources and advantages,” he said. “This is part of the strategy to narrow the urban-rural divide.”

The government welcomes high-tech and clean investments to create jobs, he added.

“We want to stress that investments should be high tech and pollution free, provide small and medium enterprises opportunities to work with them and create jobs for locals,” Ong said.

– By Pei Ling Gan
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay