16/12/05 JOHOR BAHARU, (Bernama) -- The Johor State government, recognising the huge potential of the biofuel industry, will be setting aside a 400-hectare piece of land at the Tanjung Langsat Port in Pasir Gudang, to be developed as a Biofuel Park, the first such park in Malaysia, Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said.
He said that there was a possibility that the biofuel park, which would process palm oil into fuel, would be set up as early as next year.
"The government sees tremendous potential for the biofuel industry and views it as a potential economic development base for Johor, more so for the Tanjung Langsat and Pasir Gudang industrial areas which have become the centre for the petrochemical and palm oil industries due to their strategic location," he said.
Abdul Ghani said this when wrapping up the 2006 Johor Budget at the State Legislative Assembly meet here, Friday.
He said that the move to develop the biofuel industry in Tanjung Langsat also meant that focus would be given to the palm oil processing industry, which in turn would give the area an added edge in developing the industry.
The existence of a biofuel industry in industrial area would also ensure economic growth, job opportunities, value addition and the potential to develop capabilities in the latest technologies of a stategic sector, he said.
A report earlier this week had said that Johor Corporation (JCorp) was in discussion with several parties in relation to the development of a palm oil based biodiesel plant in Johor.
Its chief operations officer, Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim, had said that negotiations were in the final stage and that the related biodiesel plant could be set up in Pasir Gudang or Tanjung Langsat.
JCorp has a 63 percent equity in plantations giant, Kulim (Malaysia) Bhd, which has also expressed its interest to enter the biodiesel industry.
Muhammad Ali, who is also the President of the Pasir Gudang Local Authorities, had also said that several investors had studied the possibility of building a biodiesel plant in Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat.
Indeed the involved companies are already planning on buying land and equipment for the biodiesel plant in the two areas of southern Johor, he said.
He said that infrastructure in Tanjung Langsat would be also upgraded to enable the development and handling of biofuel products.-- BERNAMA