16 MAY 2018
MALAYSIAN YOUTH DELEGATION CALLS ON PAKATAN HARAPAN GOVERNMENT TO STRENGTHEN CLIMATE ACTION IN MALAYSIA
With the historic win by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in the 14th General Elections on 9th May 2018 under their belt, the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) urges the PH government to prioritise climate change and environmental issues, as stated in their Buku Harapan. The Malaysian Youth Delegation wishes to bring forward three key areas of focus for the coalition as the transition to government gets underway:
Importance must be placed on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE)
Since its inception in 2004, NRE has been a key factor in the fight against climate change, and in managing Malaysia’s vast and rich natural resources, which are crucial to our economy. NRE has not been named as one of the first 10 ministries by the Prime Minister. While we understand that more ministries will be announced at a later date, we must stress the importance of maintaining the NRE portfolio. Furthermore, we call for the strengthening of the Environmental Management and Climate Change Division within NRE. We believe it would provide better guidance over mitigation and adaptation plans in the face of climate change and adverse weather events, as well as further advocate climate change education among Malaysians. Additionally, NRE plays a crucial role in maintaining 50% of our forest cover, which was initially pledged in 1992 by Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, then later reiterated in 2015 by former Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak. We urge the PH government to maintain this commitment as Malaysia’s forests play an important role in preserving our rich biodiversity, while acting as a natural carbon sink.
Transparency and inclusion in environmental and sustainability promises (7, 8, 39)
We laud PH in calling itself an environmentally friendly government, and we look forward to the roll out of the sustainability measures mentioned in Promise 39 of Buku Harapan. The intent to form a National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation is commendable, but it will need to be inclusive. We call upon the PH government to provide youth a seat at the table so that our voices can be heard. Climate change is the most pressing global issue of our time and the youth of this country, who will face the full brunt of climate change in the coming decades, deserve to have a platform to contribute fresh ideas. Further emphasis should be placed on our National Adaptation Plan as a means of protecting Malaysians who will be vulnerable to climate impacts presently and in the future.
The reintroduction of petrol subsidies, decrease in excise duties of imported cars and the abolishment of highway tolls will encourage use of private vehicles, which is contradictory to other sustainable development plans. To counteract this, efforts in enhancing public transport nationwide need to be ramped up. MYD commends the plan to put 10,000 new public buses on the road. These buses should should be a mix of electric and Euro 6 fuel efficient buses, and should be part of comprehensive plans on providing better, cleaner and safer modes of transportation, accessible to all Malaysians. A success story that should be emulated across the nation is the Smart Selangor Free Bus program. Additionally, incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles should be reintroduced in the next National Budget.
The goal of 40% carbon emissions reduction by 2020 is ambitious and is laudable, but requires further delineation and should be aligned with the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) pledged by Malaysia in ratifying the Paris Agreement. To achieve this goal, emphasis will have to be placed on not just the energy sector by way of renewable energy investments, but also other major GHG-contributing sectors such as the transportation, waste management and agricultural sectors. That being said, our renewable energy future shall be nuclear-free and MYD fully supports the PH government’s stance on this. To facilitate this, we urge to maintain and strengthen the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), as we forge a path forward to a low-carbon society in Malaysia.
MYD is willing to participate and engage as a youth and environmental CSO in Malaysia, should there be a monitoring committee organised to ensure delivery of promises.
Continued commitment and ratcheting up of NDCs in accordance with the Paris Agreement 2015 (Article 4)
In Malaysia’s Nationally Determined Contribution, submitted to the UNFCCC, Malaysia has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of GDP by 35% by 2030 relative to the emissions intensity of GDP in 2005, with an additional 10% upon receipt of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building from developed nations. MYD expects the PH government not only to commit to maintaining this pledge, but to also ratchet up and increase ambition in accordance with Article 4 of the Paris Agreement.
While there is a need for all nations to increase their ambitions via NDCs, there is also the need for increased assistance from developed nations. MYD expects the PH government to continue to fight for equitable climate solutions for Malaysia on the international stage, especially in the realms of climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity building to fulfil the 10% conditional GHG emissions intensity of GDP reduction.
In accordance with Article 11 of the Paris Agreement, we also encourage the PH government to place priority on climate change capacity building. We need to equip Malaysians with the skills necessary to think of solutions and take actions to adapt to adverse climate impacts such as unpredictable rainfall and flash floods which have struck our country in recent years.
As Malaysia turns a new leaf, many reforms will be made. In the midst of this, we must ensure the focus on climate action is not lost. MYD is encouraged by the promises made by the PH government and we look forward to engaging in a meaningful manner for a brighter, more sustainable and safer Malaysia.
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