Malaysia to step up green agenda

  • 1,800 green jobs created since 2010, 1.9m tonnes of carbon reduction
  • Green Technology Master Plan to be introduced in Q3 2014

Malaysia to step up green agendaEach minute:  At least 51 acres of tropical forests are destroyed; humans utilise almost 35,000 barrels of oil; 50 tonnes of fertile soil are washed or blown off cropland; we add 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
 
Each hour: 1,692 acres of productive dry land become desert; 55 people are poisoned by the pesticides they use.
 
Each day: 25,000 people die of water shortage or contamination; 250,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid fall as acid rain in the Northern Hemisphere; 60 tonnes of plastic packaging; 372 tonnes of fishing net are dumped into the sea by commercial fishermen; about five species of life become extinct.
 
IF these statistics are not mindboggling enough, the World Meteorological Organisation recently reported that 2013 was among the 10 warmest years since 1850. The report also established the fact that 13 of the 14 warmest years on record have all occurred this century, and that the planet will continue on its heated-up journey if we do not step up our efforts.
 
Following this assessment, the United Nations has called on world leaders to converge this September for the Climate Summit in New York, to accelerate efforts to combat climate change collectively.
 
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if the Earth’s temperature rises by another 2.5 degree Celsius, the world will suffer an annual loss of 0.2% to 2% in GDP (gross domestic product), not to mention the dramatic impact on the global ecosystem.
 
Malaysia, meanwhile, embarked on its green journey in April 2009, when the Government restructured the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications to form the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), to ensure a focus on the development and advancement of green technology.
 
Following that, the National Green Technology Policy was introduced in July 2009 to drive the adoption of green technology to steer the country’s growth in a sustainable manner. Following that, in November 2009, at the Copenhagen COP 15 summit, Malaysia pledged a 40% reduction in carbon emission intensity of GDP by 2020, based on 2005 levels.
 
In line with the National Green Technology Policy, KeTTHA has restructured Pusat Tenaga Malaysia into Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) in April 2010 to facilitate the deployment of green technology.
 
GreenTech Malaysia aims to catalyse the deployment of green technology as a strategic engine for socio-economic growth by:

  • Promoting, creating awareness on green technologies;
  • Enhancing human competency and capacity in green technology applications;
  • Developing sustainable and widespread green technology markets;
  • Strengthening local green technology industry; and
  • Advocating support policies and financing frameworks to promote green technology growth.

Malaysia to step up green agendaTranslating awareness into action
 
Since joining GreenTech Malaysia in April 2013, I have often been asked if the awareness level amongst Malaysians has increased and where we are as a nation in embracing green technology.
 
At a time when the whole world is focusing its efforts on environment sustainability, we can no longer afford to claim ignorance.

While Malaysians are now more aware than they were before, admittedly, there are still some reservations in translating the knowledge into action due to a variety of factors that could include high investment cost, lack of expertise and knowledge in the actual application and incentive schemes that aim to encourage greater adoption.
 
The year 2014 will see Malaysia step up its game in driving its green agenda. For a start, in Budget 2014, the Government announced the provision of investment tax allowances for the purchase of green technology equipment, alongside an income tax exemption on the use of green technology services and systems.
 
As a continued effort to encourage the adoption of green technology, the Government has continued to offer the Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) until December 2015, with a total allocation of RM3.5 billion (US$1.1 billion).
 
Facilitated by GreenTech Malaysia and Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd, the fund offers entrepreneurs and businesses a rebate of 2% per annum on interest or profit rates charged by financial institutions coupled with a government guarantee of 60% of the green cost.
 
Since its introduction in 2010, we have disbursed a total of RM1.5 billion as at end of 2013 through this scheme, benefitting 120 green projects. Between January and February 2014, we have already approved seven green projects amounting RM188.4 million.
 
[US$1 = RM3.22]
 
These 127 projects have altogether generated over RM1.7 billion of green investments for the economy, creating approximately 1,800 green jobs and contributing to the reduction of approximately 1.9 million tonnes of carbon emissions in the country.
 
From the GTFS initiative, it is clear that the interest in the green technology sector is rising.
 
Earlier, the National Automotive Policy was also revised to now include incentives for Energy Efficient Vehicles that are locally assembled. This is in line with the Government’s target of achieving 10% market share in EEV usage in Malaysia’s transportation sector, as well as to boost economic growth and attract foreign direct investment.
 
Recognising the issues with EV private ownership, GreenTech Malaysia now plays a role in encouraging the deployment of electric buses via the facilitation of the Sustainable Mobility Fund of RM70 million, approved by the National Green Technology & Climate Change Council.
 
The Green Technology Master Plan is part of GreenTech Malaysia’s support of KeTTHA in developing strategic implementable actions towards a green Malaysia, and is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2014.
 
The Plan will serve as a blueprint to lay out the strategic direction for the country to implement change for a green economy.
 
Other flagship projects under GreenTech Malaysia include the development and promotion of Green Procurement, Electric Mobility and Sustainable Living to facilitate the market’s transition into the green field.
 
In retrospect, we have indeed come a long way in a short time since we made our pledge in 2009. Though the journey ahead remains long and at times arduous, we must continually nudge ourselves to take another step forward along the green path, for this journey is now no longer an option.
 
It is one that we must continue for a sustainable future for the next generation and the generation that follows.
 
Ahmad Hadri Haris is the chief executive officer of Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia), a not-for-profit organisation under the purview of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia.
 
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