Malaysia is planning to delay the nationwide implementation of the plans for increasing the use of the palm oil in biodiesel, as per the Malaysian Biodiesel Association, as the country is imposing further restrictions on movement to curb the spread fo the coronavirus or COVID-19.

The second-largest palm oil producer in the world, Malaysia is suffering a lot due to the novel virus as it has one of the highest numbers of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia with 5,000 infections and 85 of them have died.

Malaysia delaying increase of palm oil use due to Coronavirus

Oil palm
A worker loads oil palm fruits into a truck before sending them to a factory in Morowali district, in Indonesia's central Sulawesi province, April 1, 2008. Indonesian palm oil prices fell sharply on Tuesday, jolted by a big drop in Malaysian crude palm oil futures, as traders turned cautious after recent volatility. Reuters

The mandate to manufacture biofuel with a 20 percent palm oil component - known as B20 - for the transport sector was first rolled out in January and was scheduled to be fully implemented across the country by mid-June 2021. The rollout will be paused for regions that have yet to implement it, UR Unnithan, president of the Malaysian Biodiesel Association told Reuters on Thursday.

"This might be reviewed after the movement control order is lifted," he said. 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.

"The ministry proposes to hold a detailed meeting with petroleum companies before deciding on a new implementation date for the three zones (that have yet to implement it)," according to the letter, reviewed by Reuters.

(With agency inputs)