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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — There must be a concerted effort by stakeholders, the government, industry players, academicians and the public to improve and facilitate sustainable living, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The prime minister said industrialisation in Malaysia needs to be environmental-friendly with a sustainable consumption and production approach.
“With your support, I am confident that we can make meaningful progress together as a nation,” Muhyiddin said in his speech at the Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award (PMHA) 2019/2020 ceremony conducted virtually here tonight.
On the country’s challenges in maintaining environmental sustainability during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, he said although Malaysians found some relief by experiencing clearer skies and cleaner air during the movement control order period, new norms also meant that there were fresh environmental issues to deal with in the form of indiscriminate disposal of face masks and the heavy use of plastics for takeaways.
“Environmental initiatives took a back seat due to such activities. Thus, the challenge now is for us to restore economic activities without reactivating environmental degradation,” he said.
He noted that the situation had worsened in 2020 when river pollution occurred with frequent water disruptions, affecting households and businesses, especially in the Klang Valley due to the irresponsible acts of some quarters who illegally disposed industrial waste into rivers.
In this regard, Muhyiddin said the government was reviewing the compounds and penalties under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 so that stern action could be taken against offenders.
Besides that, the 2021 National Budget provides a number of allocations under the fourth strategy of Ensuring Resource Sustainability, aimed at positively influencing environmental decisions in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“To recapitulate, among others, the allocation of RM20 million under the Malaysia-SDG Trust Fund with the cooperation of the United Nations with the aim to systematically coordinate financing from public and private institutions in ensuring the SDG is achieved by 2030.
“The government is also supporting bipartisan cooperation to localise SDG programme with an allocation of RM5 million to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia on SDGs,” the prime minister said.
In addition, the income tax exemption for green Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) sukuk grant is extended until 2025 to encourage the issuance of SRI products and bonds, he said.
The government will also continue the Green Technology Financing Scheme 3.0 with a fund allocation of RM2 billion for two years up until 2022, Muhyiddin said.
“This serves as a great opportunity especially for companies that plan to invest in green technology,” he said.
PMHA was today held virtually for the first time to celebrate the achievements of industry players who proved that they can preserve the environment even in the face of challenging economic uncertainties. — Bernama