PM: Malaysia needs to rethink development agenda amid climate change impact

There will be a special focus on sustainable development in Budget 2021

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

MALAYSIA needs to rethink its development agenda particularly in regards to sustainability and green technology, which plays a vital role in driving the economy.

Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) said there will be a special focus on sustainable development in Budget 2021.

Muhyiddin said the government, led by the Environment and Water Ministry (KASA), was also preparing an Environmental Sustainability Roadmap, a document with clear targets and indicators towards a green and sustainable pathway from 2020 to 2030.

Towards achieving the same objective, the PM said the government had also launched the Green Technology Master Plan which outlines the strategic plans for green technology development to create a low carbon and resource efficient economy up to 2030.

“We have also galvanised several cities in Malaysia to set a low-carbon vision and develop a low-carbon action plan,” he said, adding that a total of 52 local authorities were now part of the Low Carbon City Framework Programme which encourages strategies and actions to reduce carbon emission.

Additionally, Muhyiddin said the government plans to explore other alternatives or unconventional water resources such as groundwater abstraction, rainwater harvesting, stormwater harvesting using off-river storages and coastal reservoirs to ensure water security.

“The government strives to ensure the country’s water resources will be managed sustainably.

“Water must be treated with respect. All these will contribute to the overall achievement of the national key performance indicator of 99% water supply coverage, 80% connected sewerage services and the national target of 25% in reducing non-revenue water by 2030,” Muhyiddin said at the 11th International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2020) virtual event yesterday.

He said the impact of climate change on water resources has altered the availability, quantity and quality of the water supply cycle while contributing to extreme weather, causing long drought and extreme flood disaster.

The PM added that it will affect the capacity to meet water demand and the implementation of water infrastructure projects. He further said Malaysia is also taking steps to move towards a circular economy which covers a wide range of elements in managing the end-of-life impact of products.

Describing the Covid-19 pandemic as a wake-up call for the world, Muhyiddin said: “Lockdowns across the world made us reflect, made us think and we started to realise that we need to change our ways. We need to rethink our relationship with the planet and we need to build back better. Due to all of us being at home, we also noticed we had better air quality and mother earth had time to reinvigorate.

“But this was short-lived as we went back to our old ways once the lockdowns were lifted. But the lesson is, there is a promising path of green recovery as we wade through this pandemic,” he added.

On creating a sustainable development, organised by KASA, IGEM 2020 is the largest trade event for green technologies and eco-solutions in South-East Asia, brings the theme of “Energising Sustainability” this year.