Malaysia to consolidate green industry, says Yeo

Govt has envisioned the country to be the preferred investment destination for alternatives packaging

By RAHIMI YUNUS & SHAZNI ONG / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Malaysia is consolidating its green industry with green capital and financing, as well as encouraging investment in eco-friendly packaging under its two-pronged strategy to address environmental issues.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (Mestecc) Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the government has envisioned the country to be the preferred investment destination for alternatives packaging and at the same time, is phasing out of single-use plastics.

“We are thinking of the role that Malaysia can play to solve the (environmental) issues, leverage on them and create opportunities for the country,” she said at the launch of the 9th International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM) 2018 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The event also saw the launch of “Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030”.

(From left) Tenaga Nasional Bhd CEO/president Datuk Seri Ir Azman Mohd, Malaysian Industry-Govt Group for High Technology president/CEO Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, Yeo and Mestecc Deputy Minister Isnaraissah Munirah at the IGEM 2018 in Kuala Lumpur (Pic by Muhd Amin Naharul/TMR)

Yeo said Malaysia has the advantage to replace the petroleum-based plastic bags with biomass-based alternatives due to the abundance of local natural resources.

Meanwhile, Yeo said Malaysia will introduce SIRIM-certified packaging standards for biodegradable bags and compostable food packaging by year-end as part of a regulatory framework improvement.

She said currently, Universiti Sains Malaysia is conducting a pilot research on the production of palm oil-based packaging to serve as an alternative to the plastic bags.

The research is already nearing pre-commercialisation, she said. Yeo added that the government would place or second some of its researchers in the private sector in a researcher-matching attachment programme, beginning next year.   

As for funding, she said the upcoming Budget 2019 would have provisions on green capital and financing with a certain amount of fund to further boost the industry.

The Malaysian Reserve previously reported that environmentally friendly projects, particularly the development of renewable energy plants, are still facing difficulties in securing fiscal assistance from financial institutions.

Financial institutions are said to be rather reluctant in providing big funds for green projects due to risk factor.

Green economy is expected to contribute 1.5% of Malaysia’s GDP by 2030 or about RM60 billion, from RM8 billion in 2013.