Confusion over Malaysian waste paper inspections

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Malaysia plastic inspections
Malaysian officials inspect two containers containing US recycled plastics

Many in the paper recycling industry expected pre-shipment inspections of waste paper to Malaysia to begin in September, but that increasingly looks unlikely.

As reported by us in June, Malaysia was working towards a target of introducing inspections from next month, after this was delayed from earlier in the year.

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But this does not seem to be happening as it is still yet to be announced by Malaysian authorities.

For example, there is no mention of the inspections on either the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s or inspection authority Sirim’s websites. Indeed, a draft of the waste paper inspection proposals that was published in February has been removed from the Sirim website.

At the same time, proposals on inspections on metals were published, and these have been announced to be introduced from tomorrow, 1 September, but there has been no mention of paper.

REB Market Intelligence understands that third-party inspection agencies that have been appointed by Sirim to undertake the waste paper inspections have asked whether the inspection process will go ahead and have not received notification of either a postponement or confirmation that it will go ahead.

They have also not yet received details of the inspection procedure, so do not know what will be required by Malaysia’s authorities. So far they have only received the draft that was published on the Sirim website in February, and a further draft that was circulated to them and other stakeholders in June but was never published on the Sirim website.

Although Malaysia has appointed a new Prime Minister in recent days after the previous one resigned over the Government’s handling of Covid, this apparent delay appears to have occurred prior to this.

With Malaysia struggling to contain its Covid pandemic, it could be that it has postponed the inspections as a result. However, this would not explain why it decided to introduce scrap metal inspections. It could just be that it is taking its time to get the policy right, but the lack of information is causing a great deal of uncertainty.

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