An overarching framework on climate change is needed to meaningfully address
cross-cutting environmental issues which are inter-disciplinary and wide ranging,
such as transparency, environmental and human rights impact assessments,
sustainable development and natural resources.
I: Climate Change Action
Climate change needs to be addressed as a top priority issue in view of its impact
on the economy and food security in particular. Public awareness must be raised
on how climate change could affect different stakeholders, especially marginalised
groups, and the urgent need to be prepared to deal with these impacts. We have
already witnessed the consequences of extreme weather patterns that led to
unusually heavy rainfall and unprecedented flooding in several states at the end of
2021 that caught us unprepared. The government, through effective policy
making, needs to develop plans to mitigate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
while responding and adapting to climate change, such as enhancing flood
mitigation systems and addressing coastal erosion due to rising sea levels, and
making financial provisions for loss and damage suffered by communities.
1. Declare a national climate emergency and mainstream climate change
in national development planning.
(Evelyn Teh, Jaringan Ekologi dan Iklim, Proposal 3J-1; Faris Ahmad Fadzil, Proposal 3J-2)
i. Mainstream climate emergency in all policy, governance and institutional
levels across agencies.
ii. Formulate laws and regulations that impose low-carbon development
and transportation, prevent further deforestation and ensure food
iii. Ramp up national budget allocations for effective implementation and
enforcement of climate-related actions.
iv. Facilitate multi-stakeholder participation and representation, especially
from the indigenous, vulnerable and marginalised communities, in an
v. Adopt a holistic approach towards raising public awareness, which
includes having environmental education as a core component in the
school curriculum and increasing coverage by mainstream media and
through social media channels.
II: Transparency in Decision-Making Processes
An important principle of climate justice is that the voices of the most vulnerable
must be heard and accounted for. This requires open and participatory decision-
making processes, and accountability for decisions that are made, with emphasis
given to the well-being of local communities and the environment. A clear
example of opacity in the governmental decision-making process lies with the
degazetting of forest lands for resource extraction or development. At present,
this is frequently done by the state executive council, chaired by the Menteri
Besar or Chief Minister, without transparency and proper oversight by the state
legislative assembly, let alone the public.
2. Involve the public as decision makers in the development planning
(Siti Fatimah bt. Jafar, Environment Cluster (Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES)), CSO Platform for Reform, Proposal 3J-3)
i. Provide complete information on development planning projects to
members of the public so that they are fully informed and have a chance
to review, express, propose and object to development plans.
ii. Use leading social media platforms as publicity channels to announce
iii. Distribute full documentation online free of charge instead of relying on
iv. Make the project developer responsible for all publicity and distribution
costs related to public announcements as part of their corporate social
v. Encourage two-way communication which is safe, open and friendly at
all levels ranging from interpersonal communication to mass
3. Institutionalise the public involvement process and require state
legislative assembly approval for degazetting of forest reserves.
(Dr. Lim Chee Han, Agora Society Malaysia, Proposal 3J-4)
i. Make transparent the decision-making process for degazetting a forest
reserve by keeping the public informed of impending plans and making
it a requirement for project developers to first ensure that they have the
majority support of the local public citizens to proceed with these plans,
during public consultation sessions and through a local survey.
ii. Require state executive councils to prepare a bill at the state legislative
assembly prior to the state government making any decision on this. The
state executive council should be able to satisfactorily justify, explain and
defend their decision to degazette forest reserves to the state
III: Natural Resources Conservation
Green budgeting contributes to informed, evidence-based debate and discussion
on sustainable growth. It uses the tools of budgetary policy-making to help
achieve environmental and climate goals.
4. Incorporate green budgeting and planning.
(Dr. Lim Chee Han, Agora Society Malaysia, Proposal 3J-5)
i. Have annual planning on the management of forests and natural
ii. Evaluate environmental impacts of budgetary and fiscal policies and
assess their coherence towards the delivery of national and international
iii. Present green budgeting in the same session with the state budget for the
approval of the state legislative assembly annually.
iv. Set annual green targets such as treetop coverage, carbon dioxide
emissions and pollution reduction.
v. Conduct inventory checks and engage in advanced planning for
utilisation of land and natural resources, which must be allocated,
debated and approved.
vi. Have state assembly persons (ADUNs) and the general public track,
monitor and question the process and purpose of utilising these
5. Protect water catchment forests.
(Rexy Prakash Chacko & Dr. Kam Suan Pheng, Penang Hills Watch, Proposal 3J-6)
i. Gazette entire areas of natural water catchments within permanent forest
reserves as water catchment forests under the National Forestry Act
1984 to protect them against logging and other unauthorised use.
ii. Enact state by-laws to enable legal enforcement against unauthorised
water extraction, logging and river contamination due to uncontrolled
6. Increase forest connectivity in fragmented landscapes.
(Aisling Usun Bagly, Save Rivers, Environment Cluster, CSO Platform for Reform,
Connect forest reserves and national parks to increase the size of totally
protected areas, while recognising the rights of local communities who depend
on the forest for their livelihoods.
7. Redefine forest protection.
(Ken Lee, Agora Society Malaysia, Proposal 3J-8)
i. Promote habitat conservation management as a high-income profession
with generous remuneration.
ii. Change the paradigm of conservation from conventional resource
extraction to one that instead emphasises data extraction relating to
biological species, habitat, water resources and emergence of diseases.
iii. Encourage participation of rural residents, especially indigenous
communities, to escape poverty through the transformation of livelihood
practice, while forging a unique type of enterprise capital with their
traditional forest knowledge.
iv. Amend the Federal Constitution to solve problems related to forestry
policy and land law, which currently fall under the absolute control of
v. Raise public awareness on the importance of conserving forests.
vi. Invite different social groups to participate in decision making to
enhance ecosystem protection.
vii. Limit timber production to areas outside forests and observe strict
demarcation between plantation estates and forestland.
8. Enable sustainable forest conservation.
(Faris Ahmad Fadzil, Proposal 3J-9; Muhammad Sha’ani b. Abdullah, Environment Cluster, CSO Platform for Reform, Proposal 3J-10)
i. Classify forests according to their environmental functions in the
National Forestry Act to determine the best management practice for
ii. Amend the National Land Code to strengthen governance of all land
management and land use by state authorities by incorporating
meaningful public consultation procedures.
iii. Amend relevant laws to make the degazetting of permanent forest and
wildlife reserves the purview of state legislative assemblies.
IV: Environmental Impact Assessment
Gaps and weaknesses in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
regulations prevent the adoption of a holistic and comprehensive approach when
assessing proposed projects. There is a need to give weightage to social impacts
and human rights components, proper stakeholder consultation, access to
information and the independent appointment of consultants.
Additionally, the practice of the project proponent appointing the EIA
consultant leads to a conflict of interest which tends to favour the developer.
There is often a lack of project oversight, monitoring of compliance and
mitigation measures, as well as follow-up after the EIA report is approved. It is
worse in Sarawak where an EIA is not required for the logging of virgin or
primary forests, thus leaving primary rainforests exposed to unethical and
destructive logging methods without regulation.
9. Review the approval and evaluation processes for the EIA.
(Ng Yap Hwa, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Proposal 3J-11; Celine Lim, SaveRivers, Environment Cluster, CSO Platform for Reform, Proposal 3J-12; Dr. Lim Chee Han, Agora Society Malaysia, Proposal 3J-13)
i. Provide the public and other stakeholders with free and easy access to all
documents produced including the EIA and social impact assessment on
any planned development.
ii. Enable the public and other stakeholders to present their views and
inputs before a decision is made to approve the project.
iii. Ensure the authorities or developers respond to objections or feedback
within a stated time and before the project is approved.
iv. Restrict the minister's power to "prescribe any activity" that requires EIA
study by re-formulating transparent and clear criteria for an EIA study.
v. Require project proponents to set aside and contribute a certain amount
of funds for EIA purposes to a central consolidated account, for the
Department of Environment to act on behalf of the project proponent
and hire the most suitable candidate as the independent EIA consultant,
with the EIA report used as a key reference source for project
vi. Revise EIA procedures and requirements to follow international
standards of logging and forest management. This should be enacted
across Malaysia to promote uniform standards of logging and ensure
sustainable practices and better management of the country’s rainforests.
Enlist the help of national, regional, and international civil society
organisations as a committee to produce solutions to mitigate loopholes
and grey areas.
10. Revise Sarawak’s EIA logging standards.
(Zarris, Environment Cluster (TrEES), CSO Platform for Reform, Proposal 3J-14)
i. Amend the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance 1958 to
stipulate strict and clear EIA logging requirements for primary and
secondary forests of a reasonable size.
ii. Increase emphasis on conservation and careful management
requirements of forest resources.
iii. Legislate national laws to regularise implementation within state
11. Replace the EIA with an environment and human rights impact
(Ng Yap Hwa, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Proposal 3J-11)
Revamp the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to make human rights impact
V: Sustainable Development
As the Malaysian population grows, human demands for social, cultural,
economic and environmental resources increase, which can affect the quality of
life. A green approach involving solid waste management, limiting urban sprawl
and conserving public green spaces, among others, is needed.
12. Improve solid waste management.
(Aisling Usun Bagly, Save Rivers, Environment Cluster, CSO Platform for Reform, Proposal 3J-15)
i. Raise public awareness on the need to make solid waste management a
lifestyle practice, such as to ‘go green’ and be ‘zero-waste-friendly’.
ii. Educate packaging companies, supermarkets, restaurants and food
vendors to roll out programmes to encourage zero waste.
iii. Develop proper waste management systems, especially for communities
in rural areas.
13. Inhibit urban sprawl to protect forests.
(Wong Tsu Soon, Agora Society Malaysia, Proposal 3J-16)
i. Set urban growth boundaries in local plans.
ii. Relax zoning restrictions in the cities to encourage mixed development;
introduce policies that treat such zones as residential, e.g. by applying
residential rates to utility bills and relevant taxes, and rehabilitating
shophouses as residential housing.
iii. Provide housing rental and purchasing subsidies that encourage people
to live within a closer radius to the workplace, instead of living further
and having to commute long distances to work, which in turn
contributes to urban sprawl.
14. Increase infrastructure for pedestrian walkways and efforts to conserve
public green open spaces.
(Siti Fatimah bt. Jafar, Environment Cluster (TrEES), CSO Platform for Reform, Proposal 3J-17)
i. Develop pedestrian walkways which are integrated with green
infrastructure within and among cities or towns.
ii. Encourage public participation from local communities and local
business owners, within local authority jurisdictions, to contribute and
achieve neighbourhoods which are resilient and sustainable.
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