Sarawak first in the country to enact anti-climate change law

Deputy Minister in the Sarawak Premier's Department Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

KUCHING: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly has passed the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emission) Bill on Monday (Nov 20), making Sarawak the first state to have legislation to address climate change.

Deputy Minister in the Premier's Department Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the Bill aimed to safeguard Sarawak's environment by implementing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero carbon emissions in the state by 2050.

She noted that while Malaysia had committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement, Parliament had not passed any laws to implement these obligations.

"Therefore, the state government is taking the initiative to introduce this Bill, aiming to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, promote carbon capture and storage and mitigate climate change effects to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050," she said when presenting the Bill.

Sharifah Hasidah said measures provided in the Bill included requiring registered businesses in scheduled economic sectors to submit annual carbon emission reports and setting carbon emission thresholds.

"Where any registered business entity is unable or unwilling to bring their carbon emissions down to the emission threshold levels, a carbon levy at a rate to be determined by the state Cabinet will be imposed," she said.

She also said the Bill would institute a robust system for project verification and validation by appointed carbon standard administrators to ensure integrity and credibility for carbon credits issued in Sarawak.

This would allow Sarawak to earn revenue by trading or selling carbon credits, she said.

Upon the Bill's passing, she added, the state government planned to set up an advisory panel on climate change, carbon capture, utilisation and storage, carbon credits and pricing, emission thresholds, energy transition strategies, the net zero target and related matters.

"The introduction of this Bill is a clear manifestation of the state government's firm commitments to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.

"This Bill will also pave the way for Sarawak to have its own complete regulatory framework on clean and renewable energy, underlining our status as one of the global clean energy leaders," Sharifah Hasidah said.

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