Committee on Institutional Reforms,
Level 32 Ilham Tower,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
To: The Secretariat, Committee of Institutional Reforms, Council of Eminent Persons
Date: 28 May 2018
Subject: Recommendations for Institutional Reforms and Issues
Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) is a Malaysian civil society organisation that represents the local youth climate movement at international climate conferences, such as the annual Conference of the Parties (COP), part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Dedicated to raising awareness of climate policies amongst Malaysians, the youth are mentored and trained to translate technical policies into more relevant and relatable information for the public. MYD endeavours to hold Malaysian leaders accountable for the promises made at international climate summits.
- This paper outlines the structural defects that stunt the decision-making process to address climate change, and subsequently offers an appropriate redressal mechanism for good climate governance.
2. Pakatan Harapan’s historic win in the 14th General Election serves as a symbol of renaissance in governance and democracy. The Malaysian Youth Delegation commends the Committee for Institutional Reforms’ invitation for written representations from the public as it shows the ruling coalition’s encouragement for the people to be involved in the democratic process, and its inclusivity when it takes into account of public opinion. In that spirit, we would like to propose several institutional reforms in regards to administration of climate change and environment.
3. In accordance to Janji 39 of Pakatan Harapan Manifesto, the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (Majlis Koordinasi Kebangsaan untuk Adaptasi dan Mitigasi Iklim) will be established to coordinate Federal, State and Local Government actions against Climate Change.
4. Taking cue from the governance of the National Steering Committee on climate change, we call for actions to enable collaboration between agencies to align and integrate actions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, through transparent information dissemination and redefined agency objectives in the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. This is because our existing policies and frameworks on climate change i.e. 11th Malaysia Plan, National Physical Plan 3, National Policy on Climate Change (2009), Low Carbon Cities Framework (2011) as well as other related policies for instance energy, waste management, agriculture etc. must be streamlined for coherent execution.
Figure 1: Institutional Arrangement and Thematic Grouping for Climate Change Action Governance in Malaysia (Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC, 2016)
A. Greater Integration in the Ministry and Agencies
5. The Ministry of National Resources and Environment (NRE) must be retained, as it is an important portfolio in managing Malaysia’s vast and rich natural resources and its climate policy. It plays a crucial role in maintaining 50% of our forest cover, which was initially pledged in the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 by Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, then later reiterated by former Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak in 2015.
6. The functions of the various departments involved in the conservation and management of natural resources must be reviewed and integrated where necessary to ensure there is no functional overlap that leads to inefficiency and unaccountability. For example, although Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia (JPSM) functions to manage forests and sustainable use of forest resources while Jabatan Perlindungan Hidupan Liar (PERHILITAN) functions to protect wildlife, both departments involve biodiversity conservation. Thus there should be a coordinated mechanism for implementation and monitoring to fulfill this purpose.
7. The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Industry (MOA) must also break away from the ‘silo approach’ and work with the Ministry of NRE as it involves the management of our natural resources, the focus on yield and revenue in research must be balanced with conservation, sustainability and food security. For instance conversion of natural forest to agricultural land use may affect carbon sequestration as well as release of greenhouse gas (GHG).
8. Conservation on Marine Species should also be re-delineated as whether it is more appropriate to be managed under NRE or Department of Fisheries (under MOA) as conservation is crucial to sustainable use of marine resources. On top of that, there must be an emphasis on coral reef conservation as more than 55% of the released carbon is captured by marine organisms, and coral bleaching is one of the major causes of carbon sink reduction. Otherwise, the MOA would simply be counterproductive to the NRE which would amount to wasteful expenses of the taxpayer’s money.
9. Likewise, in order to achieve the goal of 40% carbon emissions reduction by 2020 as stated in Janji 39, focus must be directed beyond the energy sector to include other GHG-contributing sectors such as the transportation and waste management which requires working together with the relevant ministries.
10. We would like to highlight the following Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation actions that should be placed under the new Ministry of Natural Resources or under the purview of Majlis Koordinasi Kebangsaan untuk Adaptasi dan Mitigasi Iklim based on the First Biennial Update Report (BUR) that was submitted to the UNFCCC in 2016:
Call for Actions:
On Climate Change Mitigation:
11. Increase access to affordable and sustainable energy. The current mechanism that impedes wider progress are as follows:
- Limited funding constricts wider deployment of Renewable Energy through the Feed-in-tariff (FiT) mechanism.
- Limited financial resources and capacity obstructs the development of a sound and holistic energy efficiency plan.
12. Practice interagency inclusive decision-making. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
- Lack of coordination among relevant local, state, federal agencies for waste management due to restricted applicability of legislation in certain states.
- Lack of effective coordination has hindered the implementation of the 3R (reuse, reduce and recycle) programme.
13. Revive GHG Inventory Projects, NAMA & MRV. GHG identification and quantification are essential to track progress, currently we:
- Lack of proper assessment tools and skills to enable accurate quantification of GHG emissions.
14. Regulate Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Activities. The current mechanism that impedes wider progress are as follows:
- Competing socio-economic development puts strain on land use patterns, while economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by forests remain largely invisible and undervalued.
- Land use change affects peat-lands and associated peat fires result in increased emissions.
15. Reduce Emission from Transportation Sector. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
- The current policy on fuel subsidy without proportional incentive for hybrid and electric vehicles gives rise to more private vehicle use that would lead to significant growth in energy consumption and GHG emission in the transportation sector.
- The enhancement of the public transportation system that has expanded beyond mass connection to bus system will counter the move to reduce GHG emissions unless the planned 10, 000 new buses includes a mix of electric and Euro 6 fuel efficient buses.
- Technology compatibility challenges for certain vehicle engine models in using progressively higher composition of palm oil biofuel in biodiesel blends for vehicles.
16. Reduce Emission from Livestock Production. The increase in meat consumption has led to the increase in GHG, as such:
- The growth in human population and increasing income per capita, in turn increases the demand in meat production, accounting emissions from livestock by-products, as well as direct and indirect emissions.
- The MOA should work with relevant agencies to monitor and increase research on the effects and consumption of the livestock industry, moving towards more sustainable practices of organic and plant-based farming for mitigation measures.
On Climate Change Adaptation:
17. Expedite a National Adaptation Plan. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
- Approach to adaptation has been largely on a sectoral basis in response to specific needs, leading to lack of holistic and advanced planning for adaptation to climate change.
- Lack of capacity in interpreting data from high-resolution climate change projection scenarios for adaptation assessment and application in various sectors.
18. Assess coastal vulnerability.
- Detailed sea-level rise studies have only been conducted at some vulnerable coastal areas.
- Impacts of extreme weather events continuously take a heavy toll on lives, livelihoods and infrastructures, despite cumulative efforts on flood mitigation.
- Implementation of Integrated Flood Management (IFM), Integrated Flood forecasting and early warning systems (EWS) needs to be expanded to all river basins, taking into account the role of forests in IFM.
- Assessments of impacts of sea-level rise, and its impact on groundwater and saline intrusion taking into consideration socio-economic effects need to be improved.
19. Revise major development without climate change adaptation.
- Essential infrastructure such as roads, railways, seaports and airports, public amenities and private properties are currently constructed without factoring in the impacts of climate change.
- Increased challenges of reducing energy consumption for cooling purposes, while durability of conventional building materials could be shortened by excessive heat.
20. Study food security and sustain farmers’ livelihood.
- The yields of crops are susceptible to extreme weather patterns and could affect food security.
- Smallholders and farmers slow to adopt good agricultural practices that could help them adapt to climate change.
21. Expedite biodiversity conservation and adaptation.
- Limited data and information on impacts of climate change on species and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems available to public.
B. Inclusion of Youth in Climate Policy
22. We call for the inclusion of youth representation from a civil society organisation in the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. Intergenerational equity lies in the core of sustainable development, that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is imperative then, that the voice of the youths are well-represented in the decision-making process as they will be facing the consequences of policies that determine the management of natural resources as well as the irreversible effects of climate change.
C. Revamping Climate Education Policies
23. Comprehensive climate and environment education be made or included in core subjects for primary and secondary education. This is important in providing a holistic understanding of the interdependent relationship between the climate-earth system and humanity to invoke climate-consciousness among students when they analyse real-world issues like sustainable development, poverty and food security.
24. Building the capacity of students in school encourage changes in their attitudes behaviour builds a more informed and engaged society that conserves and consumes responsibly.
25. As Malaysia turns a new leaf, many reforms will be made. In the midst of this, we must ensure the focus on climate action is not lost. MYD is encouraged by the affirmations of the PH government, and looks forward to mutual engagement for a brighter, safer, and sustainable Malaysia.
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