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COMMENT | Dissecting environmental issues in 12th Malaysia Plan

COMMENT | The Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) has prepared comments on the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

These comments are based on previous reports and suggestions published by Awer as well as information found in the 12MP, 11th Malaysia Plan, 10th Malaysia Plan, and 9th Malaysia Plan.

1. Sustainable & smart cities

Smart cities come with a lot of electronic gadgets which produce e-waste that must be included in waste management planning.

It is also equally important for the government to ensure energy-efficient and environmentally friendly construction materials are used for sustainable and smart cities to optimise positive results.

In designing sustainable cities, the planning must also include a “rebound” effect that may defeat the original sustainability criteria and outcome set.

The deployment of separation at source, 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), as well as waste to wealth approaches must be done coherently and against some of the exiting concession agreements and archaic waste management models to make a sustainable city successful.

2. Urban biodiversity

The government needs to implement Awer’s proposal on creating mid-stream and downstream water catchment areas that will complement the plan to create urban biodiversity while optimising cost.

3. Conserving and preserving natural capital

Natural capital refers to our environment as a resource. It is an applaudable move when the government commits to conserve and preserve natural capital.

However, how does monetising natural capital via mining, deforestation, logging, monocrop plantation, etc contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to conserve and preserve the environment?

Contradictory statements within the 12MP do not augur well to reflect the actual government commitment when it comes to the environment.

What are the detailed analysis, targets, or limits set so that the people are clear on how much nature definitely will be destroyed in the coming decades?

4. Industry self-regulation is a fallacy

In late 2018, when the government was steering towards industry self-regulation, Awer objected to this inane move. This was also delivered to the minister in charge of the environment in late 2018.

After multiple pollution incidents including at Pasir Gudang and the shameful response from regulators, it is a clear example that businesses are profit-driven and self-regulation will not protect the environment.

There should be clear sets of regulations and improved enforcement to protect the depleting natural capital and self-regulation must be ruled out.

5. Reduced dependency on natural resources

Government commitment to monetise natural capital and statements to reduce dependency on natural resources does not rhyme with the commitment to protect natural capital.

The commitment to...

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