Betting big on green technologies

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The Government of Malaysia is collaborating with the Government of the Republic of South Korea to commission a feasibility study on turning Langkawi into the first ‘low-carbon’ island in Malaysia and the region.The Government of Malaysia is collaborating with the Government of the Republic of South Korea to commission a feasibility study on turning Langkawi into the first ‘low-carbon’ island in Malaysia and the region.

Green technologies that lead towards more sustainable development efforts are key drivers for Malaysia’s – and indeed, the Southeast Asian region’s – economic growth, according to Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Malaysia’s Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water.

In his welcoming speech during the opening ceremony for the 6th International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia 2015 (IGEM 2015) held recently, the Minister ascribed Malaysia’s current focus on green technologies to the foresight of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak  who created the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) back in 2009.

The Minister further highlighted the inclusion of various environmentally-friendly measures in the Economic Transformation Programme, and the allocation of significant resources in the 11th Malaysia Plan to the green economy, as examples of Malaysia’s ongoing commitment to this industry.

Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus stressed the need for a transformational approach that seeks ongoing cooperation and collaboration from both public and private sectors in order to achieve this vision of green technology driving economic growth.

During his keynote address at the opening, the Prime Minister reiterated the Government’s efforts in striving for sustainable development (including lowered emissions), empowering KeTTHA and other relevant government agencies to ensure that its policies in this area are executed effectively and efficiently.

“As we prepare to become a high-income status economy by 2020, there is a huge opportunity and potential, through the introduction of new green technologies, to both drive growth and improve the wellbeing of our population. This is why KeTTHA formulated the Green Technology Master Plan, which serves to catalyse green growth with the development of green technology,” he added.

According to Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib, with proper execution and monitoring, it had been forecast that green businesses will contribute approximately RM22 billion by 2020 and up to RM60 billion by 2030 to the nation’s GDP. “While significant numbers in themselves, these green businesses are also expected to contribute much more in terms of investments in green technology; RM28 billion by 2020 and RM86 billion by 2030,” he further said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the pursuit of green growth will see Malaysia shift from the old paradigm of ‘grow first, clean up later’ to one that secures both development gains and biodiversity at the same time. To that end, he noted, “Over the next 5 years, we need to focus on strengthening the enabling environment, promoting sustainable consumption and production, conserving natural resources and strengthening resilience against natural disasters.”

Resource-efficient and clean sustainable development is critical in helping to strengthen the nation’s food, water and energy security, lower environmental risks, and result in a better quality of life, Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib highlighted. As such, it was in the Government’s best interests to encourage the uptake of eco-friendly technologies.

“In order for us to accelerate the adoption of green technologies, the Government initiated funding mechanisms such as the Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS), which was introduced with an initial allocation of RM1.5bn in 2010, but due to overwhelming demand and response was increased to RM3.5bn in 2012; as well as tax incentives with an emphasis on energy, transport, waste and building management sectors,” he explained.

Since 2010, the GTFS has supported 188 projects with the participation and support from 26 financial institutions, with an approval of RM2.25 billion for both producers and users of green technology. In the process, approximately 4000 jobs were created and 2.31 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided.

Drawing on the example of Jeju Island, the Government of Malaysia (via KeTTHA and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment) is collaborating with the Government of the Republic of South Korea to commission a feasibility study on turning the duty-free tourist haven of Langkawi into the first ‘low-carbon’ island in Malaysia and, indeed, in Southeast Asia.

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