Mon, 26 Feb 2024


Consider environment when making decision and policies
Published on: Sunday, November 27, 2022
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NOW that the question about Malaysia’s prime minister has been settled, the new government that is formed must urgently address issues related to the environment. 

The impact of global warming and climate change is becoming more and more clearly threatening at the global level – as well as in Malaysia. 

In these past two years alone, we have experienced extreme and unpredictable weather and the resulting disasters, such as the floods at the end of 2021. 

They are considered one of the worst such episodes in Malaysia’s history, with more lives lost than in previous floods and damage costing RM6.1bil. And the floods continue till today. 

Despite warnings from experts, the previous government went ahead with holding the general election amid the monsoon season. 

This clearly shows that governments tend not to listen to the ­science when it’s convenient. 

Other issues affecting the environment, such as unplanned development, logging and pollution, are also continuing unabated. 

Will we ignore the consequences of the climate crisis until the worst effects hit this country? 

In the past few years, apart from outlining the consequences of ­global warming, the Intergovern­mental Panel on Climate Change reports have emphasised the urgent need for adaptation and mitigation measures, especially in countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – and Malaysia is one of those. 

This was the main thrust of the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) held in Egypt for the past two weeks. 

I had the opportunity to attend the conference with the Malaysian delegation with the support of the Environment and Water Ministry and Unicef (UN Children’s Fund) Malaysia. 

 In my observation, Malaysia actively contributed to the negotiations to further implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

Also, key Malaysian stakeholders in climate change were given a platform in the Malaysia Pavilion. 

It was encouraging to see the Malaysian government inviting active participation like this from local industry players and stakeholders who lead climate action at multiple levels, especially at the grassroots level. 

This included youth and the indigenous community at the pavilion this year. 

I believe inclusion and inclusivity are important, and getting diverse groups to the table will build strong, sustainable relationships and help capture a complete range of values and perspectives in decision-making processes around the environment. 

This is especially so when it comes to the country’s youth – we have contributed the least to climate change but we are the most vulnerable to its effects. 

However, we are far from being victims only and are also valuable contributors to climate action. 

A recent Unicef and UNDP (UN Development Programme) report shows that 92% of young people in Malaysia think that climate change is a crisis. 

Therefore, to uphold our rights to a healthy and sustainable environment, it is crucial to pay attention to, recognise and respond to youth needs accordingly.

I especially call on the new government to keep this in mind when making decisions about policies about the environment. 

To strengthen climate action in this country, we must review, update and strengthen policies related to the environment and climate change, and ensure their enforcement. 

In addition, there should be more emphasis on involving young people and marginalised groups in the decision- making process. 

We must also ensure that young people are educated about environmental governance and relevant public policies, further encouraging consultation and ­sharing of their opinions with the government. 

The government must also come up with a strategy to ensure effective and open enforcement in the environmental protection process, especially the punishment of environmental criminals. 

Finally, cooperation between the public and private sectors, including small and medium enterprises, should be strengthened to help and promote a just transition from our current heavy dependence on fossil fuel to clean energy. 

Mogesh Sababathy, 

Co-founder Project Ocean Hope

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer Mogesh Sababathy and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]


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