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Palm Oil Refiner Association of Malaysia: Uniting Malaysia’s Palm Oil Refiners

Emerging from Malaysia’s industrial scene in 1975, palm oil evolved into a key industry for the country, which now over 40 years later sees the export of refined and processed palm oil accounting for roughly 90% of Malaysia’s total palm oil production. Prior to the emergence of palm oil refining in Malaysia, only 10% of the country’s crude palm oil was refined in just a handful of factories. With the rapidly increasing demand for palm and palm kernel oil refining and fractionation today, Malaysia has established itself as not only a leading producer but also as a major marketing force in international oil and fats markets. Consequently, with the development of palm oil refining, the Palm Oil Refiner Association of Malaysia (PORAM) was established to bring stringent observance of quality and capacity to local refiners. The Association, therefore, helps Malaysia to continue to meet the high standard demands of world markets.  

PORAM is home to almost all palm and palm kernel oil refiners in Malaysia and works with its members to produce a wide range of processed oil products from fully refined products such as speciality fats and oils. These products can then be shipped across local and international markets to meet global demands for palm oil, whilst establishing Malaysia as a key exporting country for high-quality palm oil. With membership open to any company or corporation involved in the processing of palm oil and palm kernel oil, and any activities related to the oils and fats business across Malaysia, PORAM takes on a key governing role across the industry to promote Malaysia’s palm oil refiners towards international recognition.  

The key objective of PORAM is to provide an organisation that supports and promotes the interests of palm oil refiners, with the goal that the palm oil refining industry and its products across Malaysia are well established in the global sector. PORAM is working on establishing the industry, and by consequence shows the vital role oil refiners play in developing Malaysia’s economic development. Therefore, through PORAM’s stringent observance of quality control and the capacity of local refineries to meet the ever-increasing demand for palm oil in world markets, it has seen great success across all aspects of the industry due to its breakthroughs into markets that were once dominated by other vegetable oils and fats.  

PORAM provides a continual flow of valuable info to its members, to keep them informed on the palm oil trade, whilst working with the government across local and international regulations. Furthermore, PORAM provides guidance to its members across every aspect of the palm oil industry to ensure that its members have access to key trading markets, and a valuable network of key players across the industry all whilst upholding strict regulations to ensure that Malaysian palm oil is top quality. The trade aspect of PORAM’s operations is crucial as they are working to establish key business contacts to promote its members’ exports by meeting trade delegations and visitors, channelling trade engines to members, organizing trade missions and arranging for members’ participation in government-led missions, making recommendations/proposals to the Government – all aimed at facilitating the export of processed palm oil products from Malaysia and across international markets.  

Palm oil and palm kernel oil refineries produce a range of products used in both food and non-food products. These include shortenings, margarine, cooking oils, vanaspati, confectionery or speciality fats. Additionally, palm oil is often incorporated into many food products such as hot beverages, ice cream, coffee creamers, and bakery products. Furthermore, due to the excellent stability of palm oil, it is a first choice for many to fry food. Therefore, palm oil is often seen being used to fry instant noodles, french fries, potato crisps, doughnuts, fried meats, and snacks across the globe.  

Additionally, a key draw of palm oil is in the production of trans-free products, as approximately 50% of saturated fat and 50% of unsaturated fat make up palm oil. Therefore, this unique characteristic means that these two can be separated using controlled thermal conditions into a solid form (stearin) and a liquid form (olein), which are used to make trans-free products. Stearin is used to form solid fats without the need for hydrogenation making it trans-free, which is why it is often a go-to frying oil.  

Non-food uses of palm oil and palm kernel oil include soaps, biofuels, candles, cosmetic products, rubber, processing, lubricants, printing ink, and the washing and cleaning of raw materials. Therefore, the use of palm oil is vast across several industries from food and beverage all the way to construction and cleaning products. Consequently, the role that palm oil plays in the daily lives of many of us is clear, and so PORAM has established its association to highlight and promote the role that oil refineries play in such expansive markets, and so its role as a major contributor to the economic development of the country.  

PORAM works alongside many key players across Malaysia’s palm oil industry, including the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA), Malayan Edible Oil Manufacturers Association (MEOMA), and the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Association (FOSFA International). Collectively these organisations have implemented contracts that are recognized worldwide as trading rules and standards for the trade of palm oil and palm kernel oil across the global industry. The implementation of these rules ensures that all palm oil purchased from Malaysia is guaranteed to be of high quality and from reputable sources that PORAM and its fellow companies are working to unite. By uniting the industry, these companies and associations can all work as a cohesive movement to develop the use of Malaysian palm oil across the globe to serve even more diverse markets.  

Overall, PORAM is providing unrivalled support to enhance and unite the status of palm oil refining industries across Malaysia. As we have seen here palm oil plays such a crucial role in a number of industries across the globe, and therefore the regulation and standardisation of operations across palm oil refineries is essential to be able to meet the growing demand for this type of oil globally. Consequently, by establishing the role of palm oil refineries in Malaysia, PORAM is bringing much-needed attention and recognition from government agencies on the vital role they play in fuelling the Malaysian economy.