Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has shown himself to be inadequate to the task of providing the required leadership and expertise on climate change action, resulting in Malaysia’s exclusion by US President Joe Biden from the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in the United States (US) on April 22 and 23. Tuan Ibrahim’s explanation why Malaysia was not invited, has shown him to be no different from former US President Donald Trump’s lack of knowledge and enthusiasm for climate change activism.
Tuan Ibrahim’s rationale for Malaysia’s exclusion is that Malaysia is not climate-vulnerable like Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as not a big country contributor to 80 percent of greenhouse gases (GHG) to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Such Trump-like reasoning is unacceptable and dishonest when Singapore is also invited, even though Singapore should not come under either of the categories of GHG production or being climate-vulnerable.
In truth all countries are climate-vulnerable, only the degree that they have contributed towards promoting climate change action in their region, is the differentiating factor. Clearly Malaysia is not seen as a strategic environmental partner on climate change action by the US, inferior even to Vietnam, despite slowly becoming a favoured dumping ground for US co-called “clean” plastic waste.
Tuan Ibrahim should not be in a state a denial by this snub from the US. Instead, he should react responsibly and positively by seeking assistance on how to restore Malaysia’s previous leadership on climate change activism. If Parliament was not illegitimately suspended, then MPs can make suggestions during Parliamentary meetings.
There is an economic cost to failing to treat climate change seriously. A study by a group of UK universities including Cambridge University, has predicted that 63 countries, including Malaysia, could see their sovereign credit ratings cut because of climate change by 2030. The survey went further by predicting that the hardest hit countries such as China, Chile, Malaysia, and Mexico could see six notches of downgrades by the end of the century.
Tuan Ibrahim should convene a National Climate Change Conference to flesh out fresh ideas on how to move forward to restore Malaysia’s activism and leadership. DAP is willing to assist and contribute, especially former PH Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who gained international recognition for her efforts on environment and climate change action.