MILLIONS of Malaysians, including myself, watched with bated breath as Budget 2019 was presented.
And it certainly did not disappoint those who are advocates of environmental conservation. Kudos to the government for acknowledging the importance of environmental protection and preservation for our future generations.
For a start, there was clearly a stronger emphasis on enhancing the existing protected areas with an allocation of RM60mil for states committed to this initiative. The setting up of a Sustainable Development Fund with an allocation of up to RM1bil was articulated in the budget aimed at supporting the aspirations of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs were agreed upon by 193 member countries as of September 2015 and cover a broad range of issues – from mitigating the impacts of climate change and ending hunger to promoting gender equality and protection of biodiversity.
This allocation could not have come at a better time given the tight timeline of the SDGs up to 2030. Efforts must be intensified to accelerate our nation’s progress towards achieving the SDGs, and this can only happen with sufficient resources.
There is also a stronger shift towards encouraging the use of green technology, including an allocation of RM2bil for a Green Technology Financing Scheme and an initiative to expand the number of assets qualified for green technology allowance incentives (from nine to a total of 40 different assets) under the MyHIJAU directory. Much care, however, must be taken to ensure that only truly deserving assets qualify for such incentives.
Given the number of headlines that plastic pollution has made in Malaysia, Budget 2019 has articulated specific initiatives to address this issue, including giving incentives to encourage the innovation of plastics made out of bio-resin and bio-polymers that are more friendly to the environment.
The platform has been established and the ball is now in the court of our ecosystem players to propel our beloved Malaysia towards a cleaner and greener economy.
DR RENARD SIEW
Climate Reality Leader