Pakatan manifesto on environmental protection more specific, say activists

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan's manifesto has more specific policies to address Malaysia's environmental issues, green groups say.

In Pakatan's manifesto dubbed 'Buku Harapan', the coalition promises to govern the country based on principles of sustainability in line with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.

Amongst the key promises include increasing renewable energy through renewable resources from the current 2% to 20% by 2025.

It also pledged to enforce strict logging quotas to conserve the forest, implement regulations to protect wildlife and marine life, take punitive action against poachers and illegal loggers, and reduce the dependence of coal power plants.

One of its key administration measures is also to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2020.

"The Pakatan manifesto seems specific with quantifiable goals and targets," a Reefcheck spokesperson told The Star on Sunday (April 15).

"However, plans are one thing, the big question is whether they will implement their pledges," he added.

On the other hand, Barisan promises to intensify the Environmental Quality Monitoring Programme (EQMP) for better air quality, introduce water laws and realise the nationwide distribution of Euro5 diesel to promote cleaner diesel fuel.

It also promises to enhance environmental protection by introducing new laws on conservation, ensuring a balance between socio-economic development and environmental protection, and providing effective waste disposal services.

Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) president Datuk Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil lauded Pakatan's direction to stop rampant logging, saying that it is the best solution to Malaysia's water woes.

"Why spend money on mitigation and prevention projects, when you can stop logging and save wildlife, the water supply and air quality," she said.

Shariffa Sabrina added that Malaysia's over-development needs to slow down as it is destroying forests and mountains.

"In Peninsular Malaysia, we are only left with less than 20% virgin forest; we should have 50% for a balanced environment," she said, adding that Malaysia will face serious water shortage in 10 years' time if deforestation continued at this rate.

Shariffa Sabrina said that the environmental agenda had been sidelined for too long in favour of fast money, and that the next government must take a sustainable approach to the development of the country before natural resources are lost.

Asked why green economy such as eco-tourism and green technology are not prioritised, she said this is because it takes too long to reap profits compared to development projects.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Nature Society president Henry Goh called on voters to ask their constituency's candidates on their environmental and climate change policies.

Goh also said that voters should urge parties and candidates to prioritise environmental protection in their agenda.

"The environment has not been given due importance versus the more income-generating activities like timber and commercial development," said Goh.

Malaysia is party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

On Wednesday (April 11), a coalition of 20 non-governmental organisations released an open letter to the political parties urging them to include environmental needs in their GE14 agenda.

Their survey showed that 69% of those who plan to vote will consider the environment as one of the factors in their decisions.


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