REACTIONS to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s recent announcement on Malaysia’s commitment to adopting renewable energy and green technology have been widespread, particularly within the business fraternity.
For many, the move is seen as timely as in the 21st century, green technology would be the core of economic growth for all countries.
The launching of the Green Technology Financing Scheme amounting to RM1.5bil would encourage business investment in green technology, green construction and innovation.
Green technology helps mitigate the effect of climate change, one of the major causes in the unprecedented number of natural disasters.
According to Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, in 2009 alone, the world recorded 133 major natural disasters taking thousands of lives, from droughts, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, tropical cyclones, violent winds to earthquakes.
Malaysia’s embracing of green technology helps conserve and preserve its natural resources as well as providing a new economic niche for the country.
The Prime Minister’s emphasis on the four main sectors implementing green technology, namely energy, transport, buildings and water, is in tandem with the National Green Technology Policy launched on July 24 last year.
Malaysia hails foreign direct investments on green technology to foster domestic direct investments and local industry participation. Green technology research and innovation towards commercialisation would be intensified, and the incentives offered would create strong promotion and public awareness since it is a new sector.
Malaysia’s abundant surface water from rivers, lakes and dams is key to cheap treated water supply as compared to other Asian cities.
However, depletion of catchment areas and uncontrolled discharges from agriculture, domestic and industrial wastes have contributed to degradation of river water quality.
In 2009 alone, Puncak Niaga experienced 1,483 violations of raw water quality at its water treatment plants, causing shutdowns to its plants.
For example in July 2009, high ammonia contamination levels at both Sungai Labu and Sungai Langat caused disruptions of water supply to more than 40,000 people in these areas.
The number of raw water violations has increased tremendously over the years. In 1995, there were only 273 causes of raw water violations recorded by Puncak Niaga.
The median cost of treating water in Selangor and around the country has increased from a mere 5 sen per m³ in the 1960s to 31 sen per m³ today. High water system operating costs may lead to two end results – the public having to pay more or the Government spending more on the water system.
Whichever way, we, as 1Malaysia, need to play our role in conserving the environment and particularly our precious asset – water resources.
While exploring new sources of water such as ground water may provide additional supply, preventing pollution of our fresh water resources is much cheaper and more feasible in the long run.
According to National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia, Malaysia’s annual rainfall on the average totalled 990 billion m³, of which 550 billion m³ is categorised as surface run-off, flowing into our rivers and lakes.
This translates to a huge amount of available fresh water, and it is our duty to manage these resources in a responsible manner.
TAN SRI ROZALI ISMAIL, Executive Chairman, Puncak Niaga Holdings Berhad.