It’s been just over two months since the Pakatan Harapan coalition came into power. In that time, the Malaysian government has spent RM1.4 billion on fuel subsidies, as estimated by Rafizi Ramli in a recent blogpost. Soon after winning GE-14, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the weekly price float mechanism for RON95 and diesel would be removed, fixing them at RM2.20 and RM2.18 per liter respectively. This price fix will remain in place until the end of the year as the government studies potential avenues to implement its targeted fuel subsidy policy outlined in the PH manifesto.
Continued subsidies will only portray an artificially low cost of fuel to the rakyat, while encouraging private vehicle usage, leading to more urban road congestion and increased carbon emissions. This leads us down a dangerous path of normalizing subsidies once again – at a time when it’s more important than ever to wean off fossil fuel consumption. As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Malaysia has shown its commitment to reaching our global temperature increase target. The reintroduction of fuel subsidies completely contradicts our contributions to solving the global climate crisis. The government is paying money to continue to emit carbon, at a time when expenditure is becoming increasingly scrutinised.
The moral reasons notwithstanding, the reintroduction of fuel subsidies may be popular and well received by the general Malaysian population. The Pakatan Harapan coalition ran on a pro-Rakyat, pro-welfare platform, emphasizing the need for a reform to the high cost of living. Throwing fuel subsidies into the bucket of tactics to reduce cost of living is short sighted and this is where we need to have a conversation about externalised costs.
While the rakyat may benefit from more affordable fuel at point of sale, the true cost – or externalised cost – is not appropriately accounted for. When we pay RM2.20 per liter at the petrol station, we are not considering the cost of health implications from pollution, the cost of loss of biodiversity, the cost of loss of agricultural productivity, along with all other hidden costs related to carbon emissions and climate change. While even the market price of fuel would not adequately cover all of these additional externalised costs, we should not be paying any less than that. When considering the welfare of the rakyat, the Pakatan Harapan government needs to have more future-oriented solutions revolving around sustainable development, good public transportation and renewable energy policies – further supporting the PH government’s manifesto item on increasing renewable energy to 20% by 2025.
In the era of fiscal responsibility, Malaysia could really use the savings from the removal of subsidies. While deterring increased use of fossil fuels, the savings could be used to incentivise more renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the country. As a point of reference, just before GE-14, the Green Technology Financing Scheme was recently renewed for a period of five years from 2018 to 2022, to the tune of up to RM5 billion. To put that into perspective, at its current rate, the government will spend RM5 billion on fuel subsidies in under eight months. A Malaysia that prioritises good public transportation infrastructure and services, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects instead of fossil fuels is a Malaysia that is on the right track of developing in a sustainable manner.
[Tweet “we need drastic (climate) action now, and it starts with us quitting our fossil fuel addiction”]
While the fiscal argument to removing fossil fuel subsidies may be more convincing, we still need to make the moral argument. Over the last two centuries, the world has been built upon fossil fuels, with carbon-intensive development led by the West. This is the very premise to the argument that developed nations bear historical responsibility when it comes to fighting climate change. While Malaysia ought to champion the principle of equity on the international stage, we also need to be doing our part at home. By cutting fuel subsidies and throwing our full weight into sustainable mobility and renewable energy, we can lead the way, specifically in the Southeast Asia region, in actively finding ways to solve the climate crisis.
So here we stand – at a nation-defining juncture. #MalaysiaBaharu represents new hope for many. The question remains: do we want to look at the wellbeing of Malaysians only for the next five years, or for the next 50? We can either bid goodbye to a safe and secure future for our youth, or we can act now and make a difference. To get on a 2°C pathway, in line with the Paris Agreement, we need to take drastic (climate) action now, and it starts with us quitting our fossil fuel addiction. With strong political will, we can make a just energy transition happen.
Written by Mike
Read also: Fuel price hike statement
Date: 20 July 2018
ABOUT THE MALAYSIAN YOUTH DELEGATION (MYD)
A group of young passionate Malaysians 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.
Committee on Institutional Reforms,
Level 32 Ilham Tower,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
To: The Secretariat, Committee of Institutional Reforms, Council of Eminent Persons
Date: 28 May 2018
Subject: Recommendations for Institutional Reforms and Issues
Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) is a Malaysian civil society organisation that represents the local youth climate movement at international climate conferences, such as the annual Conference of the Parties (COP), part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 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 endeavours to hold Malaysian leaders accountable for the promises made at international climate summits.
- This paper outlines the structural defects that stunt the decision-making process to address climate change, and subsequently offers an appropriate redressal mechanism for good climate governance.
2. Pakatan Harapan’s historic win in the 14th General Election serves as a symbol of renaissance in governance and democracy. The Malaysian Youth Delegation commends the Committee for Institutional Reforms’ invitation for written representations from the public as it shows the ruling coalition’s encouragement for the people to be involved in the democratic process, and its inclusivity when it takes into account of public opinion. In that spirit, we would like to propose several institutional reforms in regards to administration of climate change and environment.
3. In accordance to Janji 39 of Pakatan Harapan Manifesto, the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (Majlis Koordinasi Kebangsaan untuk Adaptasi dan Mitigasi Iklim) will be established to coordinate Federal, State and Local Government actions against Climate Change.
4. Taking cue from the governance of the National Steering Committee on climate change, we call for actions to enable collaboration between agencies to align and integrate actions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, through transparent information dissemination and redefined agency objectives in the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. This is because our existing policies and frameworks on climate change i.e. 11th Malaysia Plan, National Physical Plan 3, National Policy on Climate Change (2009), Low Carbon Cities Framework (2011) as well as other related policies for instance energy, waste management, agriculture etc. must be streamlined for coherent execution.
Figure 1: Institutional Arrangement and Thematic Grouping for Climate Change Action Governance in Malaysia (Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC, 2016)
A. Greater Integration in the Ministry and Agencies
5. The Ministry of National Resources and Environment (NRE) must be retained, as it is an important portfolio in managing Malaysia’s vast and rich natural resources and its climate policy. It plays a crucial role in maintaining 50% of our forest cover, which was initially pledged in the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 by Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, then later reiterated by former Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak in 2015.
6. The functions of the various departments involved in the conservation and management of natural resources must be reviewed and integrated where necessary to ensure there is no functional overlap that leads to inefficiency and unaccountability. For example, although Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia (JPSM) functions to manage forests and sustainable use of forest resources while Jabatan Perlindungan Hidupan Liar (PERHILITAN) functions to protect wildlife, both departments involve biodiversity conservation. Thus there should be a coordinated mechanism for implementation and monitoring to fulfill this purpose.
7. The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Industry (MOA) must also break away from the ‘silo approach’ and work with the Ministry of NRE as it involves the management of our natural resources, the focus on yield and revenue in research must be balanced with conservation, sustainability and food security. For instance conversion of natural forest to agricultural land use may affect carbon sequestration as well as release of greenhouse gas (GHG).
8. Conservation on Marine Species should also be re-delineated as whether it is more appropriate to be managed under NRE or Department of Fisheries (under MOA) as conservation is crucial to sustainable use of marine resources. On top of that, there must be an emphasis on coral reef conservation as more than 55% of the released carbon is captured by marine organisms, and coral bleaching is one of the major causes of carbon sink reduction. Otherwise, the MOA would simply be counterproductive to the NRE which would amount to wasteful expenses of the taxpayer’s money.
9. Likewise, in order to achieve the goal of 40% carbon emissions reduction by 2020 as stated in Janji 39, focus must be directed beyond the energy sector to include other GHG-contributing sectors such as the transportation and waste management which requires working together with the relevant ministries.
10. We would like to highlight the following Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation actions that should be placed under the new Ministry of Natural Resources or under the purview of Majlis Koordinasi Kebangsaan untuk Adaptasi dan Mitigasi Iklim based on the First Biennial Update Report (BUR) that was submitted to the UNFCCC in 2016:
Call for Actions:
On Climate Change Mitigation:
11. Increase access to affordable and sustainable energy. The current mechanism that impedes wider progress are as follows:
- Limited funding constricts wider deployment of Renewable Energy through the Feed-in-tariff (FiT) mechanism.
- Limited financial resources and capacity obstructs the development of a sound and holistic energy efficiency plan.
12. Practice interagency inclusive decision-making. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
- Lack of coordination among relevant local, state, federal agencies for waste management due to restricted applicability of legislation in certain states.
- Lack of effective coordination has hindered the implementation of the 3R (reuse, reduce and recycle) programme.
13. Revive GHG Inventory Projects, NAMA & MRV. GHG identification and quantification are essential to track progress, currently we:
- Lack of proper assessment tools and skills to enable accurate quantification of GHG emissions.
14. Regulate Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Activities. The current mechanism that impedes wider progress are as follows:
- Competing socio-economic development puts strain on land use patterns, while economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by forests remain largely invisible and undervalued.
- Land use change affects peat-lands and associated peat fires result in increased emissions.
15. Reduce Emission from Transportation Sector. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
- The current policy on fuel subsidy without proportional incentive for hybrid and electric vehicles gives rise to more private vehicle use that would lead to significant growth in energy consumption and GHG emission in the transportation sector.
- The enhancement of the public transportation system that has expanded beyond mass connection to bus system will counter the move to reduce GHG emissions unless the planned 10, 000 new buses includes a mix of electric and Euro 6 fuel efficient buses.
- Technology compatibility challenges for certain vehicle engine models in using progressively higher composition of palm oil biofuel in biodiesel blends for vehicles.
16. Reduce Emission from Livestock Production. The increase in meat consumption has led to the increase in GHG, as such:
- The growth in human population and increasing income per capita, in turn increases the demand in meat production, accounting emissions from livestock by-products, as well as direct and indirect emissions.
- The MOA should work with relevant agencies to monitor and increase research on the effects and consumption of the livestock industry, moving towards more sustainable practices of organic and plant-based farming for mitigation measures.
On Climate Change Adaptation:
17. Expedite a National Adaptation Plan. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
- Approach to adaptation has been largely on a sectoral basis in response to specific needs, leading to lack of holistic and advanced planning for adaptation to climate change.
- Lack of capacity in interpreting data from high-resolution climate change projection scenarios for adaptation assessment and application in various sectors.
18. Assess coastal vulnerability.
- Detailed sea-level rise studies have only been conducted at some vulnerable coastal areas.
- Impacts of extreme weather events continuously take a heavy toll on lives, livelihoods and infrastructures, despite cumulative efforts on flood mitigation.
- Implementation of Integrated Flood Management (IFM), Integrated Flood forecasting and early warning systems (EWS) needs to be expanded to all river basins, taking into account the role of forests in IFM.
- Assessments of impacts of sea-level rise, and its impact on groundwater and saline intrusion taking into consideration socio-economic effects need to be improved.
19. Revise major development without climate change adaptation.
- Essential infrastructure such as roads, railways, seaports and airports, public amenities and private properties are currently constructed without factoring in the impacts of climate change.
- Increased challenges of reducing energy consumption for cooling purposes, while durability of conventional building materials could be shortened by excessive heat.
20. Study food security and sustain farmers’ livelihood.
- The yields of crops are susceptible to extreme weather patterns and could affect food security.
- Smallholders and farmers slow to adopt good agricultural practices that could help them adapt to climate change.
21. Expedite biodiversity conservation and adaptation.
- Limited data and information on impacts of climate change on species and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems available to public.
B. Inclusion of Youth in Climate Policy
22. We call for the inclusion of youth representation from a civil society organisation in the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. Intergenerational equity lies in the core of sustainable development, that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is imperative then, that the voice of the youths are well-represented in the decision-making process as they will be facing the consequences of policies that determine the management of natural resources as well as the irreversible effects of climate change.
C. Revamping Climate Education Policies
23. Comprehensive climate and environment education be made or included in core subjects for primary and secondary education. This is important in providing a holistic understanding of the interdependent relationship between the climate-earth system and humanity to invoke climate-consciousness among students when they analyse real-world issues like sustainable development, poverty and food security.
24. Building the capacity of students in school encourage changes in their attitudes behaviour builds a more informed and engaged society that conserves and consumes responsibly.
25. 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 affirmations of the PH government, and looks forward to mutual engagement for a brighter, safer, and sustainable Malaysia.
For enquiries, please contact:
Nachatira Thuraicamy | firstname.lastname@example.org | 011-2100 5882
Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham | email@example.com | 018-463 4594
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.
For enquiries, please contact:
Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham | firstname.lastname@example.org | 018-463 4594
Mike Campton | email@example.com | 012-273 8180
We, the Malaysian Youth Delegation have produced a youth statement in response to US withdrawal from Paris Agreement on last Monday.
Moreover, THE STAR spiced up our statement by giving us media exposure in the news today. You can read the full text below
THE Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), a group of young passionate Malaysians who represent the local youth climate movement at international climate conferences, expresses its deepest disappointment in the United States’ decision to withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement.
We would like to express our gratitude to the editor as well as The Star for including our statement in the newspaper. We appreciate your willingness to publish a candid response. Ultimately, we are also grateful to The Star for allowing the voice of the youth to be heard.