Don’t lose sight of climate change despite pandemic

Businesses should leverage on the sustainability agenda and modern green technologies

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA must not lose sight of the challenges of climate change as the country is bracing through the Covid-19 pandemic, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture).

He said the pandemic has given a fresh impetus for Malaysian businesses to leverage on the sustainability agenda as well as the modern green technologies.

“The unprecedented and rapid changes due to the pandemic has indeed forced us to continuously realign the sustainability aspect that has impacted many parts of our lives.

“As we wade through the pandemic, I would like to re-emphasise that we should not lose sight of the challenges that climate change poses.

“Climate change is showing signs that it could have a long-lasting impact and threatening the social wellbeing, economic development and global health,” he said during the virtual opening ceremony of the International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2021) yesterday.

With the country moving towards securing the economy post-pandemic, Muhyiddin said industries, businesses and various stakeholders also have to prepare for a socio-economic transition when the country is recovered from the pandemic.

“Today, priorities are being focused on the ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic globally.

“As the government is ramping up the roll-out of the vaccination programme while delivering policies and socio-economic recovery packages to mitigate its impact, I believe it is time for us to prepare for the socio-economic transition,” he said.

He added that the introduction of the National Green Technology Policy in 2009 symbolised Malaysia’s eco-shift from industrial national development to adopting a more sustainable economic perspective.

“The government recognises the potential of green technology as one of the pillars to accelerate the economy and promote sustainable development.

“Over the years, the green agenda has witnessed a succession of well-received initiatives and programmes, many of which have played an instrumental role to support the growth of the green technology sector,” Muhyiddin said.

Among the government initiatives that have been succeeding in supporting local technological business is the Green Technology Financing Scheme, which saw RM5.6 billion has been distributed to 431 green companies and ventures.

In 2020, the Green Investment Tax Allowances saw 635 green technology projects approved for the purchase of green technology assets, generating investments of RM2.39 billion while the Green Income Tax Exemption saw approvals for six green services projects.

Muhyiddin said as a signatory to the United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Malaysia is committed to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals, which is in line with its National Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.

“The government also recognises the need to fulfil its obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, including the climate change reporting obligations.

“In April 2021, the government established a Malaysian Climate Change Action Council, a centralised platform aimed to chart the direction of climate change policies and actions across federal and state governments in line with the mandated priorities as overseen by the Environment and Water Ministry (KASA).

“As a focal point of climate change, among the immediate areas of focus are the National Low Carbon Cities Master Plan, Low Carbon Mobility Blueprint 2021-2030 and carbon pricing mechanism,” he said.

Organised by the KASA and co-organised by the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Centre, IGEM 2021 is being held virtually for the second consecutive year.

Themed “Redefining Sustainability”, this year’s event is expected to receive 30,000 visitors from 50 countries during the six-month exhibition with over 300 exhibitors.