Malaysia is currently in a fury and flurry over the the recent overnight price hikes over fuel by almost 50% beginning today, due to the pull-out of government subsidies. However, I’m more distraught by the fact that Malaysia, and especially Sabah, hasn’t tried to promote alternatives like initiating the use of biofuel or natural gas for our vehicles.
My state of Sabah is the largest producer of palm oil in Malaysia, which causes Malaysia to become the largest palm oil producer in the world. And yet no one, not even the state government, the state media and anyone else in this state ever brought this alternative fuel matter up?! Was it my imagination, or did I read an article a year or two ago in the local papers about the success our Malaysian R&D in creating bio-diesel out of palm oil, ready for commercial use, and how it doesn’t require any modification to our car engines in order to use them? And several months ago, didn’t Malaysian TV stations aired ads featuring a prominent company selling off car fuel in the middle of nowhere and getting its fuel source from palm oil trees? Why aren’t we seeing them implemented already?
My trip five years ago to Kuala Lumpur brought me to experience riding an airport taxi cab that was fueled by natural gas (yes, like the ones we use for our cooking stoves); we even stopped by a gas station with a natural gas pump, and I had the pleasure of fascinatingly watching how the pressurized refueling works. So it’s been so many years down the road, and no initiative from the fuel companies nor car companies to implement them on a wide scale.
And where are our hybrid cars?! We claim to have two local car manufacturers, something that not all our neighboring Asian countries — not even Singapore — can claim to have, and none of them have the brains to develop and produce a hybrid?! Aren’t those companies suppose to be tight partners with the likes of Daihatsu and Mitsubishi of Japan, that they even show off those Japanese companies’ logos in several of their publications?
Malaysians should stop whining, and instead invest our energies in aggressively getting all these alternatives up. Sabah, especially, are rich in all sorts of natural resources (including mineral oil and timber — heck, we can even set up a fossil fuel powered electricity plant, which goes to show how much mineral oil we can make by ourselves) and can benefit much from these changes — once the Federal government give in to our state’s demand to increase the royalties out of the sale of these resources, something Sabah has been cheated out of for as long as I can remember.