Friday, December 3, 2021

Sarawak committed to addressing global warming, says CM

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: Sarawak is a major player in Malaysia’s commitment to addressing global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said 74 per cent or 3,452 MW of the energy produced in Sarawak is from renewable energy generated from the three hydro-electric dams of Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum HEP.

“This is more than Malaysia’s target of achieving 2,080 MW of renewable energy by 2020 which will result in avoiding seven million tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) annually,” Abang Johari said in his speech that was read out by Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur and Small, Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais who represented him at the gala dinner hosted in conjunction with the Better Air Quality Conference (BAQ) 2018 at the Borneo Conference Centre Kuching (BCCK) here last night.

BAQ 2018, from Nov 14 to 16, is organised by the Clean Air Asia and Clean Air Forum Society of Malaysia (MyCAS) with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NREB) and the Natural Resources and Environment Board of Sarawak (NREB) as the co-organisers.

Abang Johari said Sarawak, in its pursuit of the socio-economic and rural transformation agenda, is mindful of the emerging and complex environmental issues which may derail the state’s vision of becoming a developed high-income economy by 2030.

He also said that Sarawak is the first state in Malaysia to formulate its own environmental law, namely the Natural Resources and Environment (Amendment) Ordinance 1993 or NREO, and it also established the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) in 1994.

For the past 24 years, the NREB has been responsible in ensuring that all development activities in the state do not cause severe degradation to the surrounding environment and that all emerging environmental issues are properly addressed and mitigated, he said.

Sarawak, he said, also aims to modernise its public transportation through the utilisation of hydrogen fuel for buses while the NREB has also established a Centre for Remote Environmental Monitoring (CREM) which can effectively detect incidences of illegal open burning by monitoring hotspots with assistance from satellite images.

Abang Johari said that after 2020, Sarawak will enforce a total ban on open burning of biomass, except for religious purposes and shifting cultivation by rural communities.

He said the state is committed to gazetting about one million hectares of biodiversity hotspot areas under Totally Protected Areas (TPA) by 2020, and that so far more than 792,510 hectares have already been gazetted state-wide, excluding the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem which covers about 1.243 million hectares.

Abang Johari said Sarawak is also the first state in the country that established a biodiversity centre, namely the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), in 1997 with the objective of initiating programmes for the conservation, utilisation, protection and sustainable development of biodiversity in the state.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Fuziah Salleh, in her speech, said it is the dream of all Malaysians to one day be able to drink water directly from the tap like what the people of Denmark are enjoying in their country now.

“It is also our dream (that) when we walk in the open, our air quality does not affect our health. It is our dream that whatever pollution that we have, be it water, air, environment or carbon dioxide, all these could be addressed,” she said.

Fuziah also said that Malaysia is promoting the concept of ‘Maqasid Syariah, a code of conduct with the purpose to preserve religion, life, intellect, progeny, and wealth.

“Maqasid Syariah talks about rejecting destruction but encourages constructive and developmental attributes which are beneficial to the people,” she said, adding that Malaysia is also promoting this concept at the international level.— BERNAMA

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