Engagement with Federal Territories Mufti, Datuk Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri

Engagement with Federal Territories Mufti, Datuk Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri

Malaysian Youth Delegation members met with the Mufti of Federal Territories, Datuk Seri Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri earlier this week. The purpose of the meeting was to engage with the office of the Mufti which holds authority over the religious affairs of Islamic communities in Malaysia. 

 

We had the opportunity to converse over topics pertaining to climate change and how awareness level among Malaysians is currently low. The discourse on climate change in Malaysia is currently trapped inside a bubble among demographics which predominantly consists of educated and urban youths. Although climate change will ubiquitously impact people everywhere in the near future, it is not talked about enough in Malaysia. 

 

Climate scientists predict that in Malaysia, vast areas will experience water shortage, extreme variations of rainfall, extreme heat, sea level rise, dry spells in certain areas and severe floods in others. In fact, the worst floods in Malaysia for the past 30 years have all occurred since the year 2003 and it does not look like the situation will ever let up. 

 

These phenomena will destroy infrastructures, affect everyday access to jobs, strangle the country’s economy, and more importantly, threaten future livelihood. All this has not even included other external threats which will definitely arrive at the country’s shores like global food shortage, the climate refugee crisis, and so on. Thus, putting the climate crisis at the top of the national agenda is an urgent task. 

 

However, challenges in communicating the climate crisis is immense. One of the main problems is that a lot of the materials related to the climate crisis are disseminated in English by using expressions and terminologies which are difficult for lay people. This further constricts the access to climate crisis discourse. Therefore, by engaging with figures like the Mufti, MYD hopes that people in the religious sector will increasingly pick up the discussion on the climate crisis and utilize their platforms to further the discourse in their own creative ways.

MYD members Saef and Aqil with the Federal Territories Mufti, Datuk Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri

The Mufti’s office received our engagement effort very well. During the brief session that we had, the Datuk Mufti concurred with our sentiments about the lack of awareness of climate crisis in Malaysia and expressed his concerns over other environmental issues as well. The Mufti opines that above everything else, the stress on the individual responsibility of Muslims is important so that they play their roles in supporting environmental and climate crisis causes. 

 

Following this idea, he quotes a verse from chapter 8 of the Quran: “And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not only those of you who do wrong (but all people).” He explains that the Fitnah can also be understood in the form of environmental disasters like haze from wildfire or even sea level rise, thus explaining the importance for everyone, not just certain individuals, to act. 

 

He is optimistic that individual responsibility, when collectively awakened, can help reduce carbon emissions across various societal and economic levels. For him, when a Muslim individual possesses this sense of responsibility, they will incorporate and implement climate positive attitudes within any form of capacity or authority that they have in companies, organisations or institutions.

The Mufti also notes that he is saddened by the state of environmental consciousness in Malaysia where plastic pollution is ravaging our rivers and oceans, and unbridled greed is driving businesses to invade forests and natural habitats to extract resources. 

 

He adds that the consequence of this unrestrained way of life is unfortunately symbolized by the extinction of animal species such as the recent demise of Malaysia’s Sumatran rhino, Iman. The Mufti agrees that even though the environment goes through processes of natural change on its own, catastrophic environmental disasters in the recent past, including climate change, are undeniably caused by humans. This, he said, is exemplified in a verse from chapter 30 of the Quran: “Corruption (disasters) has spread on land and sea as a result of what people’s hands have done..” 

In the end he concludes that humanity’s current mode of existence is unsustainable and in his words, “tidak alami”, which means disconnected to nature. Reiterating his optimism, he says the solution is to begin with planting a sense of responsibility for nature in every Muslim individual, as each individual is able to reverberate change across all sectors.

 

MYD is glad to have engaged with the Mufti and received his opinions and wisdom. We hope that this engagement will translate into a more intensified commitment by the religious sector to help raise awareness in our society in the battle against the climate crisis.

Written by: Saef Wan

Edited by: Arief bin Johan Alimin

Malaysian Youth Awarded United Nations’ “Green Ticket” to Attend the Youth Climate Summit in New York

Malaysian Youth Awarded United Nations’ “Green Ticket” to Attend the Youth Climate Summit in New York

United Nations, New York, 21 September 2019 The United Nations announced that it is providing 100 “Green Tickets” to 100 young climate activists from 100 countries to the Youth Climate Summit. These green tickets will bring a group of gender-balanced and diverse youth to the youth summit, including our very own climate advocate Liyana Yamin from Malaysian Youth Delegation. 

The UN Youth Climate Summit is a “platform for young leaders who are driving climate action to showcase their solutions at the United Nations, and to meaningfully engage with decision-makers on the defining issue of our time”. The “Green Tickets” will fund the trip of the participants, ensuring that their journey is as carbon-neutral as possible. Participants were selected based on “their demonstrated commitment in addressing the climate crisis and advancing solution”, according to the UN website.


Liyana is the only Malaysian to participate in the New York Youth Climate Summit under this program. She will be joining a Dominican leader and women’s health advocate, a renewable-energy entrepreneur from Rwanda, a plastics activist from Serbia, a founder of an environmental NGO from El Salvador, and many of the lead organizers of the international School Strikes for Climate launched by Thunberg. 


She is currently pursuing her PhD in Taiwan on Ocean Resources and Environmental Changes. Regardless, at the summit, she is invited to attend the weekend coalition meeting on energy transition convening people with diverse and fresh perspectives tackling the one issue – climate change.  “I am looking forward to learning directly from youths all around the world in the frontlines of the climate emergency, and those who are coming up with new and innovative ways to combat the climate crisis”, Liyana said. 


She expects to immerse herself fully in the experience at the summit. Particularly she aims to refresh her knowledge on the key topics leading up to COP25, and to understand other climate issues that is happening in other regions through her engagement with other climate champions. 


She also hopes that these engagements will open up more opportunities for her to continue her advocacy in Taiwan or Malaysia, and she is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and experience on platforms such as the Malaysian Youth Delegation.


Malaysian Youth Delegation is a youth-led non-governmental organisation who represent the local youth climate movement at international climate conferences, such as the annual Conference of the Parties, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dedicated to raising awareness of climate policies amongst Malaysians, the youth are mentored and trained to translate technical policies into more relevant and relatable information for the public. MYD holds speaking engagements with various climate organisations to better understand the current landscape of local and international climate policy. With that, MYD endeavours to hold Malaysian leaders accountable for the promises made at international climate summits. 

Liyana (center) at the UN headquarters in New York with Malaysian student Reena, and MYD’s own, Jasmin.

Malaysian Youth Delegation’s Post-COP24 Forum

Malaysian Youth Delegation’s Post-COP24 Forum

Opening statement by Ambassador of Republic of Poland to Malaysia, H.E Krzystof Dębnicki.

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 January – The Malaysian Youth Delegation organised Post-COP24 Forum at Common Ground Bukit Bintang, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on the 26th January 2019.

The Forum was officiated by Ambassador of Republic of Poland to Malaysia, H.E Krzystof Dębnicki, who expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian COP delegation for the solidarity and commitment dedicated to the cause of climate justice. He conveyed his appreciation at the Post-COP24 Forum organized by the Malaysian Youth Delegation. 

In his opening statement, he advised the attendees to reduce waste, avoid plastic straws and plastic bags. “This country has made tremendous change and developing fast. Malaysia can be the leader for sustainable energy, not just in ASEAN but in the world.”

“I hope Malaysia does,” he stressed.

Chee Yoke Ling, Director of Programmes, Third World Network, moderated the panel. She was joined by three panelists, Liyana Yamin, COP24 delegate from Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary Environment Management and Climate Change Department from the Ministry of Energy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) and Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator from Third World Network (TWN).

Panel moderated by Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network.

Panel discussion with Muhammad Ridzwan from MESTECC and Liyana Yamin from MYD.

Meena Raman joined in the panel virtually.

The annual Forum aimed to explore the critical questions pertinent to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C, expanding towards  the changes in Malaysian climate change policy with the shift in government in the era of Malaysia Baru, role of CSOs in these changes and the role of youth in advocating climate change.

“Battle was fierce between developed and developing countries at COP24”

 

Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Department, MESTECC.

Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Department from the Ministry of Energy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) who attended the Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland said that this was due to conflicting interpretation of the Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) principle which has been the cornerstone for the UNFCCC negotiations.
Among the other issues that was studiously debated during the negotiations were climate financing and how the developed countries must contribute to financing the adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries.  

Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator from Third World Network (TWN) added that technology transfer was also a hot topic during the COP24 negotiations.
These a fragile balance in the negotiations, “some developing countries would win and some, the developed would win”, she told the crowd at the Post-COP24 Forum before citing the downside of developed countries such as the United States. Meena further criticised the United States government for their decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement citing explanations such as climate change as a China made-issue as ridiculous. 

According to current climate trend, the global climate temperature will increase 3C and the work to offset it will be a mountainous challenge rightfully and the developing countries was fair to fight adamantly on this front. This is due to the fact climate change will implicate developing countries the most and fundamentally, “developing countries have been doing much more than the developed country”, Meena stated. 

“CSOs are disappointed with the lack of urgency in immediate decision and actions”

Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator, Third World Network. 

Liyana Yamin briefly touched on how even American youth disagree with President Trump – at COP, she interviewed an American youth who stand on the decision of raising the voice of developing countries. American youths are aware of the critical climate situation that we are in and they work hard to push campaign forward in action and social media, in highlighting how unfairly treated the developing countries face.

Overall, Ridzwan clarified that the Malaysia Delegation achieved all their goals which was especially, 1. To lessen reporting burden, 2. Ensuring that nations could execute their plan for sustainable development, 3. There’s equity in the CBDR convention and 4. Financial support from developed nations at COP24. With that, he reassured the policies surrounding climate change will continue to be a priority as this has been a continuous effort. 

Domestically, the government have been actively pursuing the cause by ramping up efforts towards environmentally-friendly policies such as plastic bags and straw bans.
“As a government officer, we are proud that climate change was given centre stage and having a ministry named after climate change”, Ridzwan added restating the government’s commitment towards climate change which translate to bigger responsibilities additionally.
However, Meena questioned the priority of the current government with the new national car initiative. She argued more focus and resource could be channeled to public transportation, sustainable agriculture, mangrove conservation etc. Nonetheless, Meena told the crowd that, “We are excited to engage with the current government.

As the crowd warmed up during the panel introduction session, the question and answer session turned into a heated discussion as questions ranging from the topic of agriculture, public transportation, energy and corporate responsibility was debated scrupulously. There was a suggestion made to place MESTECC officers in other ministries such as economic affairs and finance as climate change should also be viewed as a major economic factor in the planning and implementation of the nation’s economy. The suggestion was made by Datin Susheila McCoy, the first woman civil servant in the Malaysian government.

A number of vocal attendees spoke their mind and weighed in their opinions on climate change and the discourse surrounding it. The forum saw many prominent climate activists, concerned stakeholders and the passionate public in attendance. Dr. Nagulendran, Deputy Secretary General and Dr. Gary Theseira, Special Functions Officer to the YB Yeo Bee Yin, from Ministry Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC), Hui Feng Chiang, First Secretary of Political Division from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and Professor Syed Azam-Ali, CEO of Crops for the Future Research Center was also present.

 

Group photo of attendees of Post-COP24 Forum.

Written by: Kadir Danial

First Day at COY14: A personal reflection

First Day at COY14: A personal reflection

After traveling for a total of about 48 hours, I was more than glad to settle into our quaint little apartment, lock, stock and barrel. After what seemed like an eternity of brisk walking, navigating and mad-bursts to catch buses and trains, it was pretty difficult not to lose one’s self in a hot steamy shower followed by well-deserved slumber.

MYD’s COP24 team at COY14, from left to right: Syaqil, Varun, Cai May, Liyana and Shaqib

Ironically enough, the mad-bursts to catch trams and/or buses, on top of the occasional grab, did not stop – as evident during the first day of COY 14. Having left our Airbnb at 6.15 in the morning to catch the 7 o’clock bus to Katowice seemed straight forward, until it dawned upon us that the chance of getting lost in an unfamiliar city is too familiar a likelihood. Not only did we miss Bus 141 which was to take us to the tram station that was supposed to take us to Blonia Park – where the COP bus will be stationed – Tram 24 cynically decided to appear on the other side of the road, leaving us in a state of disbelief. Determined not to have our spirits dampened by a triviality, we decided to walk to Blonia Park, being aware that it was a straight path anyway, albeit it being the road less travelled – or so it looked that way.

After having walked for about 10 minutes whilst simultaneously looking for our elusive bus to Katowice, an unremarkably grey bus zoomed by us and to our incredulity, it bore a neon green COP24 banner. As if it were already second-nature to us, we made a beeline for our bus, though with each passing second it seemed to have shrunk more and more until it was no longer conceivable to the naked eye. No matter, we kept on marching like the proverbial troops we were, trudging towards base camp in the field of battle, where lo’ and behold, there she was like an obedient wife waiting for her husband, that unremarkably grey, beautiful miraculous bus stationed not too far off from where we thought we lost her.

The rest of the day flowed smoothly in such a sequence: I half attended a climate change education game followed by the first YOUNGO induction cum briefing session (I half attended the former as it clashed with the latter). That followed by a breakout session into respective YOUNGO working groups, where I decided to pursue my interest in renewable energy. I was a little apprehensive with regards to the renewable energy WG as there was little indication that it was going to be active prior to COP, but my concerns were banished during the YOUNGO session when it was announced that such a group does exist and that it has a predetermined agenda.

Nonetheless, it was slightly concerning that the person handling the renewable energy working group is also handling the oceans working group, albeit temporarily as he waits for his colleague to take charge as she will only be coming in late for COY. I was also slightly taken aback at the revelation that the working group facilitator had to leave for Bonn the next day as he is to speak at the Global Landscape Forum.

No matter. I take this as an opportunity for the team to take ownership of the working group and produce meaningful outcomes. During COY13, I found myself to be disconnected and detached from the spirit of the conference, feeling lost and overwhelmed (it didn’t help that I came in halfway into it either). But with COY14, I feel that I’m coming in with a bit more confidence and a sense of purpose. Just like how some say that the failure of the Copenhagen Accord was necessary for the advent of the Paris Agreement, the shortcomings I faced at COY13 and COP23 leaves me no choice but to succeed at only my second ever COY and  COP.

Written by Syaqil

Edited by Varun

ASEAN Pre-COP Capacity Building Workshop KL-SG

ASEAN Pre-COP Capacity Building Workshop KL-SG

Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore (ESI-NUS) and Singapore Youth Climate Action (SYCA) organized ASEAN Pre-Conference of Parties (Pre-COP) Capacity Building Workshop 2018 in Malaysia and Singapore. The ASEAN Pre-COP Session in Malaysia was hosted by MYD in Oasis Village, Ara Damansara follow by the session in Singapore, hosted by ESI-NUS and SYCA at The Red Box, Somerset Rd.

Five key points in both workshops are;

  • An introduction of United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Introduction of Youth Constituency to the UNFCCC (YOUNGO) and the rest of the constituency.
  • Role of Youth on which covers youth organization that active in ASEAN region.
  • Info transition from Subsidiary Bodies Meeting (SB48.2) in Bangkok, Pre-COP in Krakow, Poland and finally heading towards COP24.
  • Focus topics that will be covered in COP24 and update on Katowice Rulebook.

In Malaysia, MYD covered most of the key points, where Mike presented on the Introduction of UNFCCC and Role of Youth. We had representation from our Singaporean counterpart, Lastrina Hamid from SYCA, who presented on her organisation and her experience in previous COP conferences. The session followed by a sharing session by Shaqib Shahril from MYD, who covered Key Topics in COP24. The workshop ended with Aaliyah from MYD, who spoke on the transition from SB48.2 to COP24.

The session in Singapore took on a similar approach to the Malaysian session. However additionally, Melissa Low from ESI-NUS covered in depth on the Katowice Rulebook. Meanwhile, the event in Singapore added a bit of twist compare to MYD which is introducing Singapore’s Carbon Pricing Act and its relationship with to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. This session was facilitated by Environmental Law Student Association, National University of Singapore (ELSA-NUS). MYD member, Shaqib Shahril been invited as a panel for this session. The session continued with a storytelling workshop and writing tips – especially aimed for those who are going to COP24. It then followed by a pitching project by Yale-NUS College Student and their plans in COP24 as a part of Singapore Youth Delegation.

Shaqib Shahril presented on the Role of Youth in UNFCCC

Both Pre-COP sessions were really fruitful, covering the basics of this year’s COP24 – relating the Paris Agreement and Katowice Rulebook to national policy. Both of the Malaysian and Singaporean session has gathered approximately 40 ASEAN youths, with representation Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

The Pre-COP session in Singapore coincided with the ASEAN Summit 2018, whereby Singapore is the host for the ASEAN Meeting and high-level segments. Both session shows the credibility and position of youth from ASEAN in the climate change scene from this region.

We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to WWF-Malaysia for supporting our workshop in Malaysia and our partners from ESI-NUS and SYCA, Melissa Low and Lastrina Hamid for making this capacity building workshop at an ASEAN scale into reality.

Written by Shaqib Shahril

Edited by Jasmin Irisha


GET REAL! Climate Change x Food Production x LCOY

GET REAL! Climate Change x Food Production x LCOY

Changes in the world’s climate has, and will continue to bring major shifts in food production. This includes the rise in temperature, increase in rainfall and coastal flooding that reduces the amount of land available for agriculture. In a nutshell, food crops and as it follows, food security, are sensitive to climate change.

After a successful SEEDS Malaysia back in 2014,  it is back this year with the theme “GET REAL”.

This year’s theme could not be more timely – as the world’s population grows at an alarming rate, the increasing demand for food has put a strain on the planet’s resources to cope with feeding billions of people.

The event will be happening on 19th – 21st October 2018 at Oasis Discovery Centre (ODC), Oasis Village.

Throughout SEEDS Malaysia 2018, 2 of these events will be happening concurrently;

–> Conference – Towards Sustainable Real Food 
( tickets here : https://seedsmalaysia2018conference.peatix.com/ )

–> Youth Forum – Climate Change & Real Food Production 
(tickets here : https://seeds2018youthforum.peatix.com/ )  

Together with SEEDS, Power Shift Malaysia will participate as the youth counterpart. The Youth Forum is an event organised by the youth for the youth with the objective of raising awareness about climate change and food production. Topics from food production to youth action on climate change will be discussed throughout the event.

Do you know what is LAGI BEST?! SEEDS is providing sponsorship to those who are really interested to participate in this event! T&C applies.