YB Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, Deputy Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change
Ladies and gentlemen,
CLEAN ENERGY COLLABORATION
1. The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) is proudly participating in the Clean Energy Collaboration, Kuching. As the advocate to renewable energy, we welcome any initiative that brings all relevant stakeholders together to discuss renewable energy pathways for Malaysia. The federal government shares the vision of a renewable energy future for Malaysia with active participation of communities.
IPCC & CO2 REDUCTION GOAL
2. As we are all well aware, last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report stating that the world must keep global warming below 1.5 degrees celsius in order to maintain healthy economies and ecosystems worldwide. This is not just an environmental imperative, but also a moral, social and economic one.
3. The burden falls on all nations whether they be a wealthy country with many resources, or a rapidly developing economy like Malaysia. Regardless of where we are, our children equally deserve to live on a healthy planet.
4. The IPCC also pointed out the hard truth, which is:Southeast Asia is going to be one of the regions that will be hit the hardest by climate change. Malaysia expects,maybe shall I say already experiences the changing rain patterns, rising sea levels, more intense flooding and more frequent weather extremes. This is not going to be easy for all of us!
5. Being the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the Southeast Asia after Brunei Darussalam and Singapore,Malaysia need to work with other countries to minimize climate change negative impacts.
6. Our country has committed to a 35% reduction of emissions by 2030 based on the 2005 baseline and to another 10% conditional reduction, if our requests for technology transfer and capacity building are met. Our Minister YB Yeo Bee Yin just confirmed these ambitious goals last year at COP24 in Poland.
RENEWABLE ENERGY TO ACHIEVE 35% EMISSION
Ladies and gentlemen,
7. In order to reach our target for carbon dioxide CO2 reduction,we need to pick up on the low hanging fruits which is to turn to the renewable energy. Our federal government set a renewable energy target of 20% by 2030, up from where it now stands at 2%. We live in a country where we have a lot of sun and a lot of rain, and therefore a lot of opportunities for renewable energy. We also have the entrepreneurial spirit to make technological leaps forward that many fossil fuel dependent western nations simply don’t have the flexibility to achieve.
8. Malaysia is forging a new pathway, positioning us as a leader in the region. I am convinced that the early adoption of renewable energy will help us and the industry to become more competitive. We can not only set new standards for renewable energy in the region but build an industry that will be able to support other countries down the road. This leadership is not only the right thing to do, but will create many new opportunities for business development, entrepreneurship, research and technological leaps. We are excited to be part of the clean energy revolution that is taking place around the world.
MICRO HYDRO IN KOBULU, SABAH
9. The government’s effort to enviliate renewable energy is already under way. In my home state of Sabah for example, the development of the first renewable energy grid began last month through a private and NGO partnership. This grid features a new micro hydro turbine to be placed in the Kobulu river to generate an expected, additional 20kW of electricity for the benefit of Kampung Buayan and Kampung Tiku. Most importantly, this project was developed with the engagement and support of the local communities who will benefit from the power.
10. The government is aware of the responsibilities that come with the growing commercial as well as industrial energy demand. We have to provide enough electricity to prosper, while not neglecting the negative impacts that centralized mega projects often imply. We are interested in working with communities and listen to all stakeholders, to create the most effective projects and have reliable energy from the Petronas Towers to the Kampung. Large dams can only serve as very last resort after having explored all other options for energy generation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
11. Before I end my speech, I would like to urge everyone present today to work together to shape the renewable energy pathways for our beloved country, Malaysia.
Herewith, I declare The Clean Energy Collaboration, Kuching open!
Let us have fruitful discussions!
Keynote speech by YB Tuan Baru Bian, Minister of Works
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Clean Energy Collaboration brings up issues for discussion that are very close to my heart: energy access for all and how that can be achieved without violating indigenous peoples’ rights.
Today, I am the Minister of Works, a very prestigious and influential position. But I still remember my simple roots. I grew up in rural Sarawak. I was born in 1958 in Long Luping, a typical indigenous village. Sarawak’s interior had no infrastructure, and like in most villages, there was no electricity in mine. The life in the village was determined by the constraints of day and night. Only the fires and the kerosene lamps would bring a bit of light into the darkness. Reading and studying at night was not possible, but most of the people were illiterate anyway. So, I know what it means to live without infrastructure and electricity. It means that you cannot study at night, you cannot store food, you have no modern entertainment like tv. So, out of my own history and from my experiences, I know how important decent infrastructure is for good livelihoods. It is a high priority of our government to provide rural areas with infrastructure and services.
As an indigenous person I learnt early on what it means when your rights are disrespected: The land we indigenous people have been living on since time immemorial is taken away from us and given to companies. They can cut our fruit trees without our permission and replace them with oil palms. The indigenous peoples’ rights to land, and free, prior and informed consent have regularly been disregarded in Sarawak. As an indigenous land lawyer, I have been fighting all my life to get peoples’ Native Customary Land Rights recognized.
My village, Long Luping was also threatened by a mega dam, the proposed Trusan Dam. Luckily, the plans have not been followed up and my village seems to be safe. But I want to make sure that indigenous rights as defined under the UNDRIP are recognised in Malaysia. Energy and infrastructure project will not be implemented in Malaysia without the free, prior and informed consent of affected indigenous peoples. If the government wants to implement infrastructure and energy projects, the people have to be involved and listened to. This also means that communities have the right to elect their own representatives, the headmen cannot be appointed by the government. People have the right to be represented by those of their own choosing. Community leaders should voice their communities’ thoughts, not recite what the government wants to hear.
The government is aware that much work remains to be done in Sarawak and Sabah to reach a similar level of infrastructure and electrification as in West Malaysia. We are determined to reach that soon. I will do my best to help and improve the infrastructure in the rural areas.
For decades, I have supported indigenous communities in Sarawak who have protected their forests from mega industries, mega-dams, logging companies and other illegal encroachment. We have development campaigns from the village level, to the blockades, to the courts. It was reported last year that although indigenous peoples make up only 5% of the world’s population, they protect 80% of global biodiversity. It is time for the rest of us to share the load and to bolster and protect their efforts on the ground by providing robust legal protections, rather than empty promises, or simply turning a blind eye in the name of development.
The value of their stewardship over our global natural resources cannot be overstated. While we talk of renewable energy policy as an important part in mitigating climate change, we should also recognize the unsung heroes protecting our planetary health, and that is the indigenous communities themselves. We have to put the land rights of these communities front and centre in any conversation about a clean future.
Tropical rainforests such as those in Sarawak and Sabah play a vital role in regulating global temperatures. Rainforests worldwide offset man made CO2 emissions by almost 40 percent, and tropical rainforests regulate global temperatures. We need to remember these factors when we talk about renewable energy. Any so-called clean energy policy that destroys primary forests is not clean. Any clean energy policy that displaces indigenous communities is not clean. This is the simple truth.
Energy access can be achieved for all without violating these simple principles. As I continue my efforts as Minister for Works I will remember my humble beginnings and remember these simple truths. There is no business to be done on a dead planet, and human rights are key to keeping our beloved Sarawak alive.