Declare climate emergency, climate justice movement urges Anwar

A LOCAL climate justice movement has called on newly-minted prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to declare a climate emergency as the world braces for the threats of climate destabilisation and a looming environmental collapse.

A climate emergency refers to a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.

In August, then-environment and water minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the government does not need to declare an emergency yet since climate actions are underway, even as flash floods, weather changes and logging continue to take place.

Experts have also said that Malaysia has been “too slow” to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims at keeping the global temperature rise this century to below 2 degrees Celcius.

Gabungan Darurat Iklim Malaysia (GDIMY) said the first order of business for Anwar’s new government should be to deliver on Budget 2023, which deals with post-COVID-19 economic recovery, climate, environmental and human rights crises. 

They noted that the past few years have been difficult for Malaysians who, on top of suffering health crises and losing their loved ones, faced financial turmoil caused by a number of factors. 

These include numerous global crises – such as the pandemic, the war in Europe, Malaysia’s own political instability, corruption and extreme floods caused by the climate crisis and the “mismanagement” of Malaysia’s natural resources and “poor” urban planning. 

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Photo credit: Sadiq Asyraf)

“The country’s political instability also brought multifaceted challenges involving human rights, especially that of vulnerable communities such as women, the indigenous community, minorities, migrant workers and refugees,” GDIMY, a loose coalition of CSOs and individuals formed in 2021 to address Malaysia’s response to the global climate emergency through urgent and concerted action, added in a statement today.

The statement was endorsed by Klima Action Malaysia (KAMY), Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (PEKA), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), the Alliance of River Three (ART!) and Greenpeace Malaysia.

“We do not tolerate fear-mongering, discrimination and corruption, and we cannot ignore that race and religion have been weaponised by the irresponsible people in power and their cronies to steal from the nation’s wealth,” they said further.

“It is the reason (that there is an) unequal distribution of opportunity and wealth.”

Calling for the incoming government to be fair, inclusive and transparent in its administration, GDIMY said a climate emergency was necessary to “urgently address the agenda of reforms for a just transition and resilience”. 

“The people’s movement for climate justice seeks meaningful participation in climate governance, co-creating climate narratives and strategies and implementing national policies and plans built on science, justice and the wellbeing of everyone living in Malaysia – now and in the future,” GDIMY added. 

“To this end, we offer to work with the new government, not just by words but through participatory decision-making and impactful action for the good of the nation.”

GDIMY, meanwhile, extended their congratulations to Anwar for his appointment as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia, and expressed hope that his “perseverance and calm composure” remains constant throughout his administration as the head of Malaysia’s first-ever unity government – “which we foresee will bring forth many challenges”. – Nov 26, 2022


Main photo credit: The Petri Dish

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE