Monday, April 29, 2013

GE 13 : Beyond Oil: Looking to Power a Greener Malaysia

In Asia, 1.8 billion people still rely on wood and other traditional fuel as their primary energy source. Although Malaysia's fossil fuels have powered the nation to the economic position we now enjoy, overdependence can be a threat in the long term.
Barisan Nasional has taken the lead in promoting renewable energy sources. The Government has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 and the country is looking to harness clean, green energy, such as hydroelectricity and biomass plants.
Under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia has taken firm strides to a future beyond oil. The National Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan 2009 enhances the contribution of renewable energy in the national power generation mix, while at the same time conserving the environment for future generations.
Under the BN Government's policies, by 2020 the country will reduce CO2 emissions by 42 million tonnes; provide at least RM19 billion of loans for renewable energy projects; over RM70 billion revenue will be generated by renewable energy power plants, of which RM1.75 billion will be paid as tax to the Government; and over 50,000 jobs will be created to construct, operate and maintain these power plants.
It is worth noting that while Peninsular Malaysia is relatively limited in terms of hydropower, Borneo's potential is vast. Sarawak alone could provide 20,000 MW of hydroelectricity, which would benefit our economy enormously and allow us to conserve our oil and gas resources.
That is not all. The Government has also established the Green Technology Financing Scheme worth RM3.5 billion to provide soft loans to companies that contribute to the production and utilisation of green technology-based products.
BN plans to go even further if elected. In its manifesto, BN pledged to provide financial incentives to commercial and private premises which invest in renewable green energy resources such as biomass and solar. It will also allocate more space for green lungs within our major cities, and employ green technology in waste disposal and management.
These are clear pledges that will make Malaysia a global leader in green energy.
Last December, the visiting British minister for international development Alan Duncan praised the government, saying it has boosted Malaysia's international image as a more sustainable and "green" country.
In contrast, Pakatan Rakyat has failed to offer any future vision for renewable energy. Quite the opposite, in fact, the Opposition coalition has attempted to stifle the growth of hydropower by blocking dam construction.
Pakatan's manifesto makes a general pledge that "environmental sustainability is a hallmark of Pakatan Rakyat's economic policy," but doesn't specify what form this would take.
Indeed, the only real commitment Pakatan makes is that it would increase the "royalty paid to oil- and gas- producing states from 5% to 20%."
By focussing on oil alone, Pakatan's plan for our energy future is neither economically nor environmentally sound. A Pakatan government will therefore devastate the nation's fragile energy security by reversing BN's ambitious roadmap towards renewable energy.

No comments: