Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests.
- It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the second International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference. After a very successful inaugural meeting in 2010 that saw an astonishing RM1.2 billion in business transactions, Malaysia is honoured to host IGEM again this year – and I can tell you that this year’s event is even bigger and better, with almost 600 exhibitors –from more than 20 countries right across the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
- We come together here today united in our quest for a solution to one of the defining questions of our times – how as a global population we can continue to develop without damaging our environment, fuelling climate change or over-exploiting the natural resources of our planet. I have no doubt that we are standing at the beginning of a defining decade – and the choices we make now will resonate far into the future.
- If we are to stem the flooding of our plains, the drying of our rivers, the melting of our icecaps – in short, if we are to halt the degradation of the world’s natural resources – then we must learn to tread upon our earth more lightly. But we cannot simply stand still. Sustainable development does not mean no development at all. Quite the opposite, in fact: it means using resources in ways that meet our needs today without compromising the needs of generations still to come.
- To achieve that goal, together, we must grow greener – and already, across the world, there has been a significant leap in demand for green technologies. World leaders have come to recognise the real and lasting role that they can play in driving innovation and growth in unsustainable and faltering economies – and global investment in such technologies is growing at a faster rate than ever.
- So the foundations have been laid, and now is the time for us to shift our development to a more “eco-centric” course – a course with an emphasis on understanding the limitations of our resources and on fostering sustainable solutions.
- For our part, Malaysia has watched and learned from countries that have successfully established ‘green’ economic models. Countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, Japan, Poland and our neighbour Singapore have all achieved significant progress in developing a green ‘edge’ in their respective countries – whether through the adoption, innovation or production of green technologies or through developing platforms that encourage more eco-friendly products and services.
- Since I took office back in 2009 Malaysia has been focusing on the initial ‘adoption edge’, working to build greater public awareness of green technologies alongside support for their adoption and application. Now, in the next stage, key Government policies are being reoriented towards developing a green ‘production edge’. I am determined to see Malaysia become a major producer of eco technology products not just in our region but globally, and I hope that this will in turn translate into an increase in the number of green jobs and green business opportunities.
Malaysia’s Green Economy
- To help achieve this goal, the Government has put in place a National Eco-Labeling Program to ensure that businesses make credible claims about their products and to raise awareness among both consumers and manufacturers about environmentally-friendly products and services.
- The National Eco-Labeling Program is a precursor to the new National Green Procurement Policy, which will seek to promote and facilitate green procurement by both the Government and private sector. In any country, Government is usually the biggest consumer, and if Government buys green there is a good chance this will spur industry growth and increase market demand.
- But I believe we need to move even more quickly on this issue, and support from key industry players will be of paramount importance. So we now need to see a concerted effort by everyone involved to ensure that our Malaysia-made products comply with international specifications for eco-friendly products and to put us in the best possible position to penetrate the international market.
- Green technology market leaders could also work to share and transfer their technological expertise and business solutions with emerging economies that are trying to become greener. We need all members of the business fraternity to play their part – so I urge research institutes and institutions of higher learning to work together with businesses and Government to expand R&D in the field of green technology and to drive the commercialisation of tomorrow’s game-changing innovations.
Business Opportunities In Four Key Sectors of Green Technology
Ladies and gentlemen,
- There is tremendous potential for green technology growth in Malaysia, especially within our target sectors – energy, construction, transportation, water and waste management. In the energy supply sector, there are opportunities for the application of green technologies to power generation and supply-side management, including co-generation by the industrial and commercial sectors. As for the energy utilisation sector, I would encourage businesses to explore the application of green technologies to increase energy efficiency at the same time as cutting costs.
- To promote green technology in the transportation sector the Government has introduced an import and excise duty exemption for franchise holders of hybrid electric cars and motorcycles, cutting the on-the-road cost of such vehicles and encouraging Malaysians to choose more eco-friendly ways to travel.
- In the water and waste management sector there is also much we can do to use resources more efficiently, for example through the utilisation of green technology in the management and utilisation of water resources, wastewater treatment, solid waste and sanitary landfill.
- And in the construction sector there are also ample opportunities for the wider use of green technology in building, management, maintenance and demolition. Incentives available to this sector include a stamp duty exemption for the purchase of property with Green Building Index certification as well as income tax exemption on additional capital expenditure incurred to obtain such certification.
Creating an Enabling Environment for Transition
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- To help create an environment that will propel Malaysia’s transition towards a low carbon economy and to ensure we meet our pledge to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by the year 2020, I will be launching a Low Carbon Cities Framework and Assessment System.
- It has long been my aspiration to develop both Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as shining examples of eco-friendly townships, and to replicate this in other towns and cities across Malaysia. The Low Carbon Cities Framework is intended to help achieve that goal, assisting local councils, town planners and developers to formulate action plans to cut carbon emissions – for example, though measuring the baseline carbon emissions of cities in order to develop tailor-made carbon strategies and solutions.
- The Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water is working closely with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to ensure that both this framework and the Green Neighborhood Guidelines are effective tools that can be applied by Local Councils across the country, and I would like to take this opportunity to urge the private sector to embrace the opportunity to get involved.
- So how can Malaysian businesses help the transition towards a green economy? Last year, the Government introduced the Green Technology Financing Scheme to assist companies that are users and producers of green technology. To date, we have received 125 applications, with 97 approved projects having been awarded Green Certificates with a total value of more than RM2 billion.
- This might sound tremendously encouraging, but there remains a gap between demand and supply. While interest from both businesses and financial institutions has been strong, the end result has been less positive. I have been informed that out of the 97 Green Certified projects, only 21 have received letters of offers for loans from financial institutions.
- So today, I would like to take the opportunity to call upon financial institutions, businesses and agencies to work together more closely and to be more innovative in realising the global call to green technology. I urge all parties to rise to this challenge and to play their roles in supporting the development of a green economy to the full.
Role Of The Public In Moving Towards a ‘Green Economy’
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- To increase demand for green products and services we need to change the way that people live their lives – the way they fuel their cars, take their vacations and power their homes.
- To achieve this, we need to educate the public, but even more than that we need a reappraisal of our core value systems, empowering communities to make their own decisions based on the future that they want to leave behind.
- Ultimately, it is the citizens of the world who will play the pivotal role in our pursuit of a sustainable future. We need to think twice before we use plastic bags, waste water or throw away our rubbish – and we need to create space for greener, more sustainable choices such as recycling waste, car-pooling or taking public transport, walking, using energy wisely and buying eco-friendly products.
Ladies and gentlemen,
- I have said this before and I will say it again: it is my dream that one day we can all live in clean, healthy and high quality environments, in cities, townships and communities that are built on the fundamentals of green technology. I have called this my vision for a green Malaysia.
- One way or another, each of us can have a positive impact on the future of our planet. But, rather than it being fleeting or half-hearted, our commitment to this noble goal must be unwavering.
- To that end I encourage all of you to continue to support and participate in IGEM over the coming years, and to promote the use of eco-friendly and green technology wherever possible – for it is only through our collective, consistent and concerted efforts that we can turn our green vision into a green reality.
Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.