NEW YORK: At a time when the world is facing serious climate change and forest degradation due to development, Malaysia still has 54% forested areas across the country, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The Prime Minister said he was confident this percentage would increase following ongoing aggressive reforestation measures.
As one of only 17 bio-diverse countries in the world, he said Malaysia was aware of its responsibility to maintain and preserve its natural resources for future generations.
During the Earth Summit in 1992, Malaysia pledged to maintain at least 50% of its land mass under forest and tree cover, he said when delivering Malaysia’s National Statement at the 77th United Nations General Assembly here on Friday.
He said climate change was a universal problem affecting the entire world, and Malaysia was not spared as, last year alone, it was struck by the most serious floods in its history, resulting in losses estimated at US$1.4bil (RM6.1bil).
“Many lives were lost and almost 100,000 people had to be moved to temporary evacuation centres.
“This situation happens not only in Malaysia but in several other countries as well. Clearly, mitigation and adaptation measures need to continue,” he said.
He reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to carrying out its responsibilities and roles to ensure environmental conservation and sustainability.
In this context, he said various measures have been implemented by Malaysia, such as introducing the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil standard to meet requirements for sustainable development.
He said Malaysia was also committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% based on gross domestic product by 2030.
“In this regard, Malaysia has set a target of achieving 31% renewable energy use by 2025. Malaysia is also committed to achieving its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” he added.
Earlier, Ismail Sabri and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas witnessed the signing of four memoranda of understanding (MOU)between the two countries on the establishment of a joint committee meeting, as well as on the cooperation in the fields of health, tourism and Islamic affairs, Bernama reported.
The two leaders also convened a bilateral meeting during which Ismail Sabri reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to supporting Palestine’s struggles and rights as an independent, sovereign country, with Jerusalem as its capital.
He reiterated Malaysia’s stance to never support Israel on any international platform until the rights of Palestine as a sovereign state are restored, the Israel-Palestine peace process is concluded, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine is ended.
To strengthen bilateral ties, Abbas invited Ismail Sabri to make an official visit to Palestine to see for himself the Israeli oppression and destruction of Palestinian-owned properties in the occupied West Bank.
During the meeting which lasted 30 minutes, Ismail Sabri also welcomed Palestinians to pursue tertiary education in Malaysia in vital fields for the reconstruction of Palestine.
To date, there are about 800 Palestinian students at leading universities in Malaysia, pursuing studies in various fields including engineering, as well as technical and vocational education and training.