KUALA LUMPUR – 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.
“I feel fine”
Muhyiddin meanwhile went on Facebook today to provide an update on his health condition a day after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Everything is going well, I believe this is a safe, effective vaccine. So, many of you would like to know about my health condition today. Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), I feel healthy, there’s no fever, nothing out of the ordinary. I’m eating as usual and my appetite is also normal,” he said while expressing his gratitude.
Muhyiddin was the first individual in the country to receive the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine yesterday.
Among others who received the jab were Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and four staff of the Ministry of Health (MOH) from the Putrajaya Health Office in Precinct 11.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said he had also received an appointment for the second dose of the vaccine on March 17.
Muhyiddin said as a vaccine recipient, he also received various information on the vaccine through the MySejahtera application which was downloaded on his mobile phone.
“That is why I urge once again for all to play their respective roles in supporting the efforts of the government and country for us to flatten the COVID-19 curve by registering ourselves to receive the injection, through the MySejahtera application,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin called on the public to continue complying with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set even after receiving the vaccine.
“Wear a face mask, wash our hands as usual, observe physical distancing and do not go to crowded spaces — these we should continue to do even after we’ve been vaccinated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham replied to Bernama on his experience today.
“I am feeling good too, no side effects, no fever or pain. Already reported to the MySejahtera application,” he said.
He also shared a screenshot of his MySejahtera application where he had updated his health status.