Malaysia’s exclusion from a climate action summit featuring world leaders from 40 countries, including neighbours Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam has become a sad joke on the declining state of Malaysia’s previous leading activism on promoting climate change. Malaysia’s exclusion from the United States Climate Action Summit confirms that Malaysia is viewed as more of a dumping ground for plastic waste than a strategic environmental partner.
The Leaders Summit on Climate, organised and hosted by US President Joe Biden, will take place virtually on April 22 and 23. The White House said the invitees included the “heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways. Many have decried the pointed snub by Biden as a slap in the face, because Malaysia had failed to maintain its reputation as a Southeast Asian leader in climate action achieved by the former PH Minister Yeo Bee Yin.
To prevent Malaysia being the dumping ground for plastic waste, Yeo was at the forefront of returning shipping containers of plastic waste back to their country of origin. She was also instrumental in the amendment to the classification of plastic wastes under the Basel Convention, to restrict the import of such waste.
Despite denials by the PN Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, the PN government has allowed Malaysia to slowly become the US dumping ground for “clean” plastic waste. He had explained that the plastic wastes were clean, homogeneous and met conditions for plastic waste import permits. If Tuan Ibrahim Man is so confident about how plastic waste can be “clean”, then he should allow a “clean” plastic waste factory to be built next to his home in Kelantan or Pahang.
Up to now, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has failed to explain why Vietnam can be invited, but Malaysia excluded from this summit. Tuan Ibrahim should wake up and set his vision on how to integrate climate change measures into the work of government agencies and the way forward to reclaim our “climate change” reputation. Sadly, as a leader of a party whose colour is green, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has short-changed the country with his poor performance in pushing green policies until Malaysia is seen as inferior to Vietnam.