Young Malaysians: Stop blaming and do something

KUALA LUMPUR: With the haze expected to get even worse, governments should stop playing the blame game and do something concrete about the annual scourge, say Malaysian youths.

Both governments and people should also realise that the haze is only one part of the bigger problem facing the world: climate change and environmental destruction.

Mimie Rahman, 28, said rather than assigning blame for the worsening haze, governments and citizens of a nation should work together to combat this issue.

“When we see open burning – we need to stop looking and do something about it.

“Make changes not just for this country, but globally in combating not only haze but all issues related to climate change,” said Mimie, a project officer with a non-governmental organisation.

Victor Raj, 27, believes more work should be done in raising awareness on climate change.

“People don’t empathise with climate change because they don’t see its effect in their lives. They would rather think about their immediate needs like putting food on the table.

“But if you think about climate change, it is on a global scale. If we lose our planet, other types of activism will no longer be relevant,” he said on the sidelines of the launch of the Asia Regional Youth Festival 2019 organised by regional non-profit women’s organisation Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow) yesterday.

The festival aims to build a “next-generation” movement for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by equipping young people in Asia Pacific to advocate for the implementation of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

Victor said he also supports Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin’s work on climate change, adding that she has been working hard on these issues.

Victor, who is a public relations and marketing head at a social advocacy organisation, said Indonesian leaders have to step up and teach their farm and plantation workers all about sustainable farming, instead of taking the easy way out with open burning to clear land.

Meanwhile, Keshia Mahmood, 26, said that a lot more could be done about climate change in not just Malaysia but also in the Asia Pacific region.

Keshia, information and communications programme officer with a regional NGO, said there has to be closer cooperation between the Malaysian and Indonesian governments in combating the haze.

”I think the Malaysian government is doing the best it can. I just hope they can work towards a solution,” she said.
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