Exclusion from climate summit seen as slap in Putrajaya’s face
PETALING JAYA: An environmentalist has urged the government to view Malaysia’s exclusion from a US-organised climate action summit as a wake-up call to improve efforts to deal with climate change issues.
The plantations, environment, and natural resources sectors are now under three separate ministries.
Andrew Sebastian, chief executive of the Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Malaysia (Ecomy), said Putrajaya had received a slap in the face because Malaysia had failed to maintain its reputation as a Southeast Asian leader in climate action.
Speaking to FMT, he said: “In recent years, we have seen a downward trend, with our government failing to show leadership in dealing with local environmental issues. Hence, there has been a drop in our reputation globally.”
Sebastian said Malaysia had lagged behind in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and integrate climate change measures into the work of government agencies because responsibilities for environmental concerns were currently split among several ministries.
“The plantations, environment, and natural resources sectors are under three separate ministries. We have to address that,” he said.
In the Pakatan Harapan government, concerns over energy, science, technology, environment and climate change were all under one ministry.
Sebastian said the public should hold Putrajaya accountable and the government must explain its plans for the protection and management of Malaysia’s natural resources.
“Questions should be raised. How do we move forward from this? How do we show the world that Malaysia is serious in protecting the environment and becoming a leader once again?”
The Leaders’ Summit on Climate, to be hosted by US President Joe Biden, will take place online on April 22 and 23 and will be broadcast live.
It will feature world leaders from 40 countries, including Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The White House has released a statement saying the invitees included the “heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy”.
Former prime minister Najib Razak has asked whether the snub was due to Malaysia’s faltering global reputation.
However, Sahabat Alam Malaysia president Meenakshi Raman said the exclusion from “just an external event organised by the US” was not anything “to cry about”.
She said the only discussions that truly mattered would come under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. She noted that the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties had been scheduled for this November.
“The summit that Biden has called for is not part of the convention. It is an external process.
“Countries are free to organise other things outside but they cannot exclusively make a decision on other countries’ behalf and force them to accept it without negotiation,” she said.
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