Kuching, 19 October 2017 - Malaysia’s evolution into a waste to wealth circular economy based on biomass, bioenergy and bio-refining is the central theme showcased in the International Biomass Conference Malaysia 2017 (IBCM 2017), which also explored the country’s potential in digital agriculture and rural development as critical supporting enablers for this new economic model.
The conference with the theme of “Biomass Industry Revolution 4.0: Innovation-led Bio-based Economy” features a lineup of 18 foreign speakers / panellists coupled with 15 subject matter experts from Malaysia; and attended by more than 900 delegates from Australia, Singapore, USA, The Netherlands, South Korea, Denmark and Japan.
YAB Datuk Patinggi Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, Chief Minister of Sarawak at the official opening said: “This conference is timely for sparking innovative thinking on the way forward for the State’s bioeconomy agenda in collaboration with the Federal Government. We are confident that Sarawak can help Malaysia position itself as the regional Biomass Processing Hub for high value downstream applications. The commitment has never been stronger and we are on the right track in moving towards the target but we need all the support and collaboration opportunities both by local and international stakeholders to make this race exciting and fruitful for all.”
The Chief Minister’s optimism resonated with YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) Adviser who described the conference as a golden opportunity for industry players to share knowledge, focus their innovative mindsets and engineer a realistic and practical move to take Sarawak on the path of becoming a national key area for Malaysia’s future bioeconomy sector.
“We have well-known and respected experts on bio-resources development as speakers for IBCM 2017 and I am confident that all participants, especially from the private and public sectors in Sarawak, will gain greater insight on what should be the immediate next-step for implementation that will bring Sarawak closer to the NBS 2020 vision,” she said.
Representing YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), YB Datuk Haji Ahmad Maslan, Deputy Minister of MITI said, “The strong presence of local stakeholders here today shows that our industry players are hungry for new business opportunities, and are ready to take up the challenge and move forward. Malaysia has been resilient and in adverse times, we always find ways to innovate and improve ourselves. We would like to see more companies venturing into high value biomass ventures but at the same time be sustainable, successful and globally competitive.”
“R&D and innovation is important to create value and undertake improvement & technological advancement that will enable all stakeholders in the biomass industry to seize new economic opportunities that will position them ahead of the competition. We are excited that this year’s conference is focusing on developing innovation-led bio-based economy and will be addressing the challenges and opportunities in adopting Industry 4.0 elements in the biomass industry,” said Datuk Haji Ahmad Maslan.
“While Malaysia has put all the necessary plans, infrastructure, enablers and support systems to accelerate this industry, the on-going development and deployment should not depend on just the Government, but it is a collective effort. The future of this industry will require close collaboration throughout the entire value chain with all local and international stakeholders,” he added.
YB Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Mohamad Morshidi Bin Abdul Ghani, Sarawak State Secretary said the conference serves as a platform to encourage interaction among all stakeholders within the biomass ecosystem. “This year, it marks the first time that federal and state government have joined together and worked closely towards a successful IBCM. At the end of the conference, it is hoped that participants will gain better understanding of global movement in the biomass ecosystem, and able to apply new knowledge gained at both organisational as well as individual levels.”
He said that the development of biomass industry in Sarawak is in line with the State Government’s effort in promoting a bio-based economy adding that it is a continuation from the recent International Conference on Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sarawak 2017 (ICAAS 2017), of which effective agriculture delivery systems and opportunities in the utilisation of digital technology were discussed and identified.
En Naser Jaafar Chief Executive Officer of AIM said IBCM 2017 aims to spark a new level in innovative thinking with the introduction of key topics that are strategic to the creation of a robust and sustainable biomass economy.
“One of the most exciting ideas presented is the development of a new model like the Circular Economy and the impact of digitisation towards accelerating Malaysia’s biomass economy agenda. The adaptation to the Industry Revolution 4.0 as the theme “ Biomass Industry Revolution 4.0: Innovation-led Bio-based Economy” suggests, will encourage efficient and optimised use of resources and avoid wastages such as energy leakages that will help Malaysia achieve long term economic and sustainability goals,” he added.
He noted that this is also in line with the recent summit organised by Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) with the theme “ Digitising Sarawak, Amplifying Growth ” where the Sarawak State Government announced its focus on bio-economy and its intention to fully utilise the state’s rich biomass resources, as the State is blessed with rich biodiversity and there are potentials in the bio-based economy to be fully exploited.
IBCM 2017 is jointly organised by AIM, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Sarawak State Planning Unit (SPU) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE). The conference isheld in Sarawak as a keystone State for Malaysia’s bio-economy agenda with its abundance of biomass residues and resources, which forms the heartland of Malaysia’s burgeoning bio-economy together with Sabah under the Sabah and Sarawak Biomass Industry Development Plan (SBIDP).
Sarawak alone could potentially generate an additional RM4.8 billion in Gross National Income, create 30,000 new jobs and RM18 billion in investment opportunities throughout the bio-economy value chain, utilising around six million dry tonnes of its biomass resources.
On MIDA’s involvement with the initiative to spur Malaysia’s bio-economy, its CEO Dato' Azman Mahmud said, “Malaysia has developed into one of the most exciting destination for biomass-based investments in the entire biomass value chain; from upstream to downstream, manufacturers to traders and supporting ecosystems.”
He added, “Renewable energy has increased in importance in the green policies of major countries such as Korea, Japan and China. This has led to strong interest from industry players to look at Malaysia for sources of raw materials. From 2011 to 2016, a total of 226 biomass projects with investments of RM2.92 billion were approved by MIDA. Being a country rich in natural resources, there are huge opportunities for biomass-based investments to grow and prosper in Malaysia,”
The two-day IBCM 2017 began with welcoming remarks by Datuk Haji Ahmad Maslan, who represented Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, followed by a special address by YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri.
Petteri Pihlajamäki, Director, Head of Forestry and Biomass Consulting Worldwide, Pöyry Management Consulting, Helsinki delivered a keynote address on the topic of why Sarawak matters to Malaysia’s aspiration to become the regional leader in biomass economy, describing the state’s potential and the challenges to come.
This was followed by a discourse on waste to wealth by H.E. Maria Castillo Fernandez, Ambassador and Head of Delegation, European Union to Malaysia, who presented her case through the European Union’s circular economy model perspective, and the application of this model in Malaysia’s bio-economy.
Also highlighted at the two-day event are workshops on Commercialisation of Innovative Ideas by PlaTCOM Ventures Sdn Bhd, The Digital Economy : Steinbeis Malaysia Foundation Assisting Sarawak businesses enter into the global e-commerce market by Steinbeis Foundation Malaysia and how corporations can drive innovation and accelerate growth helmed through the Malaysia National Corporate Innovation Index (NCII) by AIM’s NCII team.
On regional opportunities there are also workshops by relevant experts and policy makers from Netherlands focusing on The Netherlands: Regional Bio-based Opportunities and the Korea Energy Symposium presented by representatives from Energy companies, technology and service providers of the energy sector in Korea in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Malaysia.
Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), a statutory body established by the Government through an Act of Parliament, was created to jump start wealth creation through knowledge, technology and innovation and stimulate and develop the innovation eco-system in Malaysia towards achieving Vision 2020. AIM’s main objectives are to:
Generate additional revenue to contribute to Malaysia’s GDP;
Provide additional jobs for the Malaysian workforce;
Inspire and produce a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs;
Facilitate the evolution of Malaysian companies into major global players.
For more information, kindly visit www.innovation.my
Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is the government's principal promotion agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to oversee and drive investments into the manufacturing and services sectors in Malaysia. Starting operations in 1967 with a relatively small set up of 37 staff, MIDA has grown to become a strong and dynamic organisation of over 700 employees. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, MIDA today has 12 regional and 23 overseas offices. This year as the organisation celebrates its 50th anniversary, MIDA continues to be the strategic partner to businesses in seizing the opportunities arising from the technology revolution of this era. For more information, kindly visit www.mida.gov.my or connect with us on Twitter (@OfficialMIDA) and FB (/OfficialMIDA).
About National Biomass Strategy (NBS) 2020
The National Biomass Strategy (NBS) 2020 was initiated in November 2011 to assess how Malaysia can gain more revenue from its palm oil industry through utilisation of the associated biomass as a start. It is a result of extensive collaboration of the Malaysian Government with private sector companies as well as domestic and international research institutes and academia. The Strategy outlines the action plan and opportunities in the biomass value chain that could create RM 30 billion in additional GNI, 66,000 jobs mostly high value, 12% reduction in Carbon Emissions and RM 25 billion in Investments. While the strategy initially focused on the palm oil industry since it was the largest producer of biomass in Malaysia, the scope is also extended to include all types of biomass from sources such as rubber, wood and rice husk. In the version 2.0 of the NBS 2020 released in 2013, expanded scope to include biomass from Forestry sector and Dedicated Crops on Marginal Land as feedstock to higher value downstream industries addressing availability, mobilisation costs and downstream supply potential. For more information, kindly visit http://www.nbs2020.gov.my/
About National Biomass Strategy Delivery Unit (1MBAS)
A Dedicated Unit under Malaysia's National Innovation Agency (AIM), Prime Minister's Department tasked to strengthen execution of the National Biomass Strategy 2020. In support of this objective, 1MBAS provide integrated facilitation and support to all biomass stakeholders across the value chain; upstream and downstream Industry Players, Government and Academia to help them explore and commercialise higher value opportunities across sectors in Malaysia aligned to the national goals set NBS 2020. For more information visit the website: http://www.nbs2020.gov.my/
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