Expert: Still a long way for M’sia to attain status, despite positive steps taken


  • Metro News
  • Monday, 13 Jan 2020

Chow (seated far left) with participants at the ‘Green Society Advancing Through Sustainable Development - A Nordic Perspective’ forum at E&O Hotel in George Town.

MALAYSIA is on the right track in becoming a green society with many initiatives and efforts taken by the government.

However, it still has a long way to go before it can truly call itself a green society, said Scania South-East Asia sustainability manager David Lantz.

Lantz said in the aspect of transportation, there is a lot of interest especially on the demand by bus and truck operators in the region who were looking to adopt sustainability approaches in their operations.

He said these companies were looking at how sustainable energy could be adopted in their businesses, adding that demand from their customers who preferred greener technology had contributed to the effort.

“Their customers prefer operators who adopt a more environmentally friendly approach in the service that they seek.

“It is encouraging to see that they are getting the motivation from their customers, ” he said.

Lantz was speaking at the first session of the ‘Green Society Advancing Through Sustainable Development — A Nordic Perspective’ forum, which touched on the topic, ‘The Shift to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency’ at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel in George Town recently.

Moderated by Penang Institute executive director Datuk Dr Ooi Kee Beng, the event featured three other panelists comprising Nordic industry players in the country.

Malaysia-based Q2 Engineering Sdn Bhd general manager Low King Hserng said in general, there was an increase in awareness about sustainable energy, adding that it now involved more players in the market.

“I started in the waste management business 20 years ago and I remember that in 1999, there is only one company in Malaysia that was in the sustainability related business.

“But now, since the past few years, there are more local companies that are willing to adopt these approaches in their businesses.

“In Malaysia, we also have a good minister who is willing to go for a greener Malaysia, ” he said, adding that there was still a lot of room for improvement in the country that could be done in becoming a green society.

The waste management and biogas expert also has an office in Silkeborg, Denmark.

Other panelists in the forum were Scatec Solar (Malaysia) country manager Arnfinn I. Unum and Danish Energy Efficiency Partners (DEEP) managing director Morten Sondergaard.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was also present, delivered his keynote address at the forum.

He said several initiatives had been introduced by the state government in an effort to combat climate change in Penang, namely the Penang Green Connectors project.

Chow said the initiative involved the development of numerous gardens and facilities on a massive 18,000ha land of the island to provide an urban cooling effect.

“We also give incentives to premises with Green Building Index (GBI) certification, thus making the state with the third highest number of GBI-certified buildings in the country.

“Our Penang Green Agenda spearheaded by the Penang Green Council (PGC) is also at its final stage of drafting and it will continue to outline its strategies in tackling future environmental challenges in the state, ” he said.

The forum was organised by the Nordic Representations in Malaysia and Icelandic Honorary Consulate General in Kuala Lumpur with the support from Penang Institute and PGC.

The event saw industry players from Nordic countries that use sustainable and green technology such as waste management, biogas, wind power and clean energy sharing their experience and expertise with their counterparts in Malaysia.

The Nordic countries comprise Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

There was also a second session in the forum that touched on ‘Circular Economy for a Sustainable Society’ that was moderated by PGC project manager Dr Ng Shin Wei.

The event continued with a dinner reception where guests were treated to a delicious international and local buffet spread.

In his speech during the reception, Chow said he was fascinated by the innovative spirit of Nordic industry players.

“Some of their solutions are relevant to Penang and could be implemented almost immediately in Penang, ” he said, thanking the industry players for sharing their knowledge and expertise during the one-day event.

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