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LETTER | Gabungan Darurat Iklim Malaysia (GDIMY) is deeply alarmed by the recent heatwave affecting Malaysia, which has tragically claimed the lives of two children in a single week.

As the sweltering heat wave sweeps across Asia and with record-breaking hot temperatures, resulting in numerous fatalities, many recognise this as a stark sign of the climate emergency.

With the southwest monsoon and El Nino coinciding in the coming months, the situation is expected to worsen.

These devastating events emphasise the urgent necessity to confront and address the climate crisis in our country. We demand clarity from the authorities on these cases:

  • An 11-year-old boy who died of heatstroke and dehydration in Kelantan.

  • A 19-month-old girl in Kelantan died of heatstroke.

These heartbreaking losses highlight the severity of the situation and the pressing need for immediate action to protect the most vulnerable.

We call on the authorities to take the following steps:

  • Ensure that heatwave action plans are a national collaborative effort that fully includes a long-term heatwave response plan, community-based disaster risk reduction and management, as well as mechanisms prioritising human rights and well-being.

  • Institutionalise and expand Disaster Resilience Education (DRE) nationwide.

  • Heatwave vulnerability assessments must be prioritised and treated with the same urgency as flood risks. It's crucial to go beyond merely closing schools. Longer-term resilience planning, grounded in human rights, is essential.

  • Federal government must establish an official national statistics database that comprehensively discloses short and long-term climate change related impacts to health such deaths, injuries and mental health, as well as property and farmland losses, crop failure, and natural resource degradation among others.

    The database should be freely accessible, incorporate gender-disaggregated data points and include records dating back to 2018.

  • Expedite the National Adaptation Plan (MyNAP) to address climate impacts effectively to protect and empower vulnerable groups, while developing action plans and roadmaps for mitigation that avoid false solutions outlined in GDIMY's Climate Emergency Declaration Letter.

  • Fast-track the Climate Change Act and Disaster Act as legislative tools for rights-based mechanisms in Malaysia.

  • Expand redress mechanisms for heatwave victims across judicial and non-judicial avenues.

The government must treat this as a visible impact of the climate emergency and acknowledge its human rights implications.

READ MORE: When the water rises: A Malaysian climate change story

We demand a statement from authorities clarifying the situation and outlining the steps being taken to ensure the safety and well-being of our children and our most vulnerable populations in the increasingly warming climate. The time for action is now.

Statement endorsed by:

1. Alliance of River Three (ART!)

2. CERAH Anti-Haze Action Coalition

3. Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur

4. Greenpeace Malaysia

5. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

6. Persatuan Kesedaran dan Keadilan Iklim Malaysia (Klima Action Malaysia - KAMY)

7. Pertubuhan Demokrat Sosial

8. Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (PEKA)

9. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)

10. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

11. Tanjong Bunga Residents' Association (TBRA)

12. Youths United for Earth (YUFE)

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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