Keynote address by YAB Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang cum Chairman of Penang Green Council during Penang Green Agenda 2030 Launch on 27 th February 2021.
Good afternoon to all of you!
Thank you for joining us virtually on this very meaningful day. It is my honour to be here to witness and launch the Penang Green Agenda today. The Covid-19 pandemic has tested our resilience to the core, exhausted our medical frontliners while many have lost their jobs and the current global economy is in the doldrums.
However, I believe Penangites will not be defeated despite these challenges and we will continue to prove our resilience while moving forward towards our ultimate goal of becoming a green state.
The Penang Green Agenda (PGA) formulated by Penang Green Council is a 3-year project aimed at implementing strategies to build a future-proof community in Penang to meet and adapt to forthcoming environmental challenges by 2030. It is a crucial component in the Penang2030 vision which is to realise “A Family-Focused, Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation”.
PGA focuses on 10 key areas which have been identified and highlighted by the people of Penang as being important issues now and in time to come. Stakeholders from various backgrounds such as the public service, civil society, academia, professional bodies and businesses are involved in the deliberation and more importantly the crafting of solutions. Some of the suggestions have already been adopted, for instance, the forming of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Taskforce, the new dedicated Disaster Management Unit, the preparation of Green Tourism concept and so on.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Climate change is a major threat to the world today especially to coastal and island cities. The urban areas of our state face two major threats – heat stress and flooding due to the increase of extreme rainfall. In 2018, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) has identified that heat stress will become a new challenge for the urban areas in Penang as we transition from “not being at risk” to “becoming endangered” by 2050. A combination of increased temperature and floods will affect the wellbeing of our citizens and lead to cumulative economic losses of up to RM6 billion by 2030.
Hence, we are also introducing the Climate Change Impact on Penang Report by Penang Green Council which outlines some analyses and assessments of global warming towards Penang. This also comes at a critical time as our society is waking up to the crude reality of a future threatened by climate change. Although these are not a prescription of what will definitely occur, it is a strong prediction of what might happen if nothing is done at all.
Penang is also the first state in Malaysia to launch a statewide initiative of reducing plastic bag usage in all supermarkets and hypermarkets. This initiative has successfully transformed public and business practices to reduce up to 33 million of plastic bags since the birth of the “No Plastic Bag” campaign in 2009. Having said that, the Penang state government has taken this step further by enforcing No Plastic Bag Day Every Monday to Wednesday and a RM1.00 charge from Thursday to Sunday starting on 1st January 2021. I am confident that this campaign will be another milestone for the state to achieve our Penang2030 vision.
Therefore, the Penang state government welcomes everyone to access the reports to understand the issues and challenges highlighted, and we hope everyone can work together to create a more sustainable and resilient society.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. A new direction of growth with an emphasis on sustainability to address the challenge of climate change is equally important to safeguard lives, properties, jobs and our standard of living.