ON 19 NOVEMBER, Malaysians will vote for our next federal government – and state governments too, for some.
From declaring a climate emergency to stopping deforestation, different groups are demanding that political candidates and parties include environmental and climate commitments in their GE15 manifestos. Here’s an evolving list of the demands compiled by Macaranga.
To help you evaluate, we also include evaluations by groups and a list of the specifical environmental / climate promises in the manifestos of the main political coalitions in Peninsular Malaysa, Sarawak and Sabah. There are links to some commentary/analysis as well.
You can do more than just read. You can make your demands to the candidates, and you can monitor candidates’ positions on environmental issues.
At the bottom of this page, use the templates of letters to send to candidates. Also check out #UndiIklim, an attempt still underway to rank candidates in terms of climate and environmental issues and policies.
(Feature photo: SL Wong)
The massive Manifesto Rakyat covering 27 policy areas was put together by two groups, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (comprising 20 community groups) and the CSO Platform for Reform (comprising over 100 civil society organisations). Environmental and sustainability issues are scattered throughout this manifesto, but there is a specific environmental thrust:
- Declare a national climate emergency and mainstream climate change in national development planning
- Transparency in decision making processes
- Natural resource conservation
- Environmental impact assessments
- Sustainable development
- Declare a Climate Emergency
- Climate Emergency Declaration’s Framework for Action
- Governance Mechanisms and Processes
- The People’s Right to Information
- The National Adaptation Plan for Malaysia
- Community Resilience
- Food Sovereignty
- Water Sovereignty
- The Climate Emergency is a Health Emergency
- Protecting Malaysia’s Biodiversity
- A Rapid Decarbonisation Trajectory
- Circular Economy and Zero Waste
- Transboundary Haze Pollution Act or Clean Air Act
- Climate Change Act
- Revise the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to include air pollution standards, EIA requirements, and scheduled waste related regulations.
On their UndIklim site, Greenpeace has the findings of their research on the Parliamentary Hansard (2018—2022). They have identified Parliamentary questions containing environmental keywords (91 in Bahasa Malaysia and 80 corresponding keywords in English). They have also cross-checked this with media coverage.
They do note that “mentioning environmental keywords alone does not necessarily indicate a pro-environmental stance”.
- Public transportation
- Affordable housing
- Public places
- Inclusive development
- Risk-informed development
- Transparency and accountability
- Clean water and reliable electricity supply
Senior Malaysian conservationists
In terms of forest reserve gazettes, senior conservationists Surin Suksuwan, Lim Teck Wyn and Dylan Jefry Ong urged the institution of these recommendations in the last election and urge them again:
- Amend forestry and protected area related legislation to include a requirement for consultation with stakeholders and the public before any decision to revoke or excise wholly or partly any areas constituting a protected area is taken. Following such amendments, pursue the development of regulations or rules that outline a meaningful consultation and finally a decision-making process and protocol to ensure consultation is not reduced to a mere rubber stamp exercise.
- Ensure there is free and easy access to information related to forest reserves and protected areas such as all Gazette Notifications, as well to all legislation (whether parent of subsidiary) at all levels of government related to Protected Areas. This includes making access to online law portals such as Lawnet.com.my free to the public.
- Half of Malaysia has natural forests which have legal protection
- One million hectares restored as forest habitats
- All timber, palm oil and rubber produced sustainably
- 30% of Malaysian seas and coasts conserved
- All coastal fisheries and aquaculture are sustainably managed
- Priority species safeguarded and overexploitation reduced
- Net zero emissions target to combat climate change
- No plastics in nature
- Infrastructure development integrates principles of sustainability
- Strengthen environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards for the finance sector
What are candidates’ stand on climate and the Manifesto Rakyat? #UndiIklim is an ongoing campaign to interview, collect data on, and rank candidates on this. An initiative by Gabungan Darurat Iklim Malaysia (GDIMY), Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia and CSO Platform for Reform. The results will be on:
Deep dive into MPs, ADUNs and politicians' track record
- MYMP with its cute RPG-like interface, tracks all Parliamentary questions, attendance, availability, etc. Funded by the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights.
- Sinar Project has data on 1,300 politicians and their associates on its Politikus site, for a deep dive into interests, ownerships and relationships.
Political Party GE15 Manifestos
Here are the main political coalitions’ manifestos. Every one (barring one) has a specific green component, so there’s value in seeing what they think fits in here to be highlighted, but in truth, environmental/ sustainability promises are made in other sections, so look through them eg. food security, transportation, livelihoods, etc.
Template Letter 2
Here is another option with suggestions submitted by Macaranga reader Simon Tan (see his comment below):
Dear candidate ABC
If you are elected as MP for XYZ seat in GE15, please indicate which of the following legislation you will table as Private Members Bill in Parliament before end of 2024;
1) Bill to declare National Climate emergency
2) Bill to ban logging, deforestation or submerging forest; larger than 1.76 acres (one soccer pitch)
3) Bill to ban unsustainable logging
4) Bill to ban reclamation larger than 50m x 50 m (half soccer pitch)
5) Bill to reduce gross national Green house gases emission 3% per annum over the next 20 years using 2022 as base line.
Why are environmental and climate issues important? Read Macaranga‘s Special Project, asking Malaysians to consider how our relationship to and governance of our land and water are critical to all notions of ‘Tanahair’ – homeland.
[Edited by Law Yao Hua]
Updated: 14 November 2022 @ 2.38pm