Works minister says no to cutting rainforests for development

Baru Bian today reaffirmed today his commitment to come up with ‘clean energy’ policies in developing rural Sabah and Sarawak. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Baru Bian today reaffirmed today his commitment to come up with ‘clean energy’ policies in developing rural Sabah and Sarawak. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUCHING, March 16 — Baru Bian today reaffirmed today his commitment to come up with “clean energy” policies in developing rural Sabah and Sarawak.

The works minister said any policy claiming sustainability but brings devastation Malaysia’s forest cover is not “clean”.

He said his ministry will keep pushing the idea of promoting and implementing sustainable infrastructure development through the Construction Industry Transformation Plan (CITP).

“Under the Environmental Sustainability thrust of the CITP, Malaysia’s commitment towards sustainability in the construction sector is addressed by developing and promoting programmes and initiatives that encourage more sustainable infrastructure projects,” he said.

In his keynote address at the Conference on Clean Energy Collaboration on Sustainable and Inclusive Energy Pathway for Sarawak and Malaysia, he said construction has a strong impact on the environment.

Baru said the process can wreak havoc on the ecosystem and biodiversity, especially when care is not taken to prevent damage.

“Therefore, it is important to pursue sustainability and resilience in the effort to develop the country in a low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially conscious manner.

“With this strong focus, the Malaysian government is now improving sustainability in construction and will continue to do so into the future,” he said.

He said the development of new technology to help reduce the industry’s impact on the environment has become vital to the continued success of these ventures, adding that the ministry at all points of time considers the life cycle of the built environment, including socio-economic issues in urban development.

Baru also said that tropical rainforests such as those in Sarawak and Sabah play a vital role in regulating global temperatures.

“Any so-called clean energy policy that destroys primary forests is not clean. Neither are energy policies that displace indigenous communities. This is the simple truth,” he stressed.

Baru also reminded that energy access for all through rural electrification can be achieved with economically and environmentally sustainable energy systems without violating and compromising indigenous peoples’ rights at the same time.

“I believe there is an urgent need for environmentally sustainable energy systems that would address energy poverty and energy needs for development in Malaysia,” he said. 

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