PUTRAJAYA, May 9 — Malaysia is removing its ban on trading renewable energy and stepping up its efforts to move the country to become more green and energy efficient.

Economic Affairs Minister Rafizi Ramli said the ban — imposed a year-and-a-half ago — had put a crimp on job opportunities and economic opportunities locally that could have helped local businesses grow.

He added that it was time to find ways to reduce Malaysia's reliance on fossil fuels and be more energy efficient.

“The Cabinet agreed to find ways to increase our renewable energy sources, use a self-contained system to monitor investments and increase investments in the industry with our corporate sector in tow, add solar panels to all government buildings and develop a cross border energy exchange system.

“These steps will help increase foreign investment and save us on electricity bills,” he said in a joint press conference with Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad here.

Rafizi said both ministries raised the issue in a Cabinet meeting on May 3.

“As for our government buildings we're allocating around RM50 million for the installation of solar panels. This will help us a lot in saving costs for energy as well,” he added.

Rafizi said the government will need an estimated RM637 billion until 2050 to ensure Malaysia has sound infrastructure, solid power grids, a good energy storage system that will all be integrated seamlessly.

He said this way will be more cost saving.

Nik Nazmi said he hopes Malaysia’s renewable energy supply can hit 70 per cent by 2050.

“The expansion of renewable energy capacity will enable surplus energy generation capacity to be exchanged across borders with regional neighbours based on a mechanism that will be determined by the government, thus advancing the realisation of the Asean Power Grid.

“The projected increase in renewable energy capacity is in line with the Malaysia Energy Transition Outlook report on low-carbon energy system pathway and will be incorporated into the National Power Development Plan,” he said.

The ban on exporting renewable energy was put in place in October 2021 when the government was led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, with Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan as energy and natural resources minister.

Bakri MP Yeo Bee Yin — a former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister — has been a critic of the ban, saying that it keeps investments and green industry jobs from Malaysia.

She said that Malaysia should be capitalising on opportunities as other countries look to move towards cleaner energy, such as Singapore’s recent announcement that it will be importing up to four gigawatts of low-carbon renewable energy by 2035.