KUALA LUMPUR (dpa) – Malaysia is well placed to reconcile the pressures of economic development with the need for environmental protection, Prime Minister Najib Razak said Wednesday.
“Countries like ours – fast-developing nations in favour of ambitious action on climate change – are living proof that economy and environment can prosper together,” he told an international forum on sustainable energy in Kuala Lumpur.
“The fight to shift the world onto a sustainable development path will be won in countries like Malaysia.”
Malaysia was doing its part to cut greenhouse gas emissions, by incentivising clean vehicles, rationalising its fuel subsidies and boosting mass and rapid transport systems, he said.
“We’ve launched a venture capital fund to finance clean energy projects across Southeast Asia. Malaysia already builds much of the new energy infrastructure – from solar panels to energy-efficient light bulbs,” he said.
But the tropical country still faced challenges in “marrying economic development and environmental protection,” he said.
Najib said he was “appalled” by recent deadly floods triggered by illegal logging in the Cameron Highlands, a protected area.
“This goes against the grain of everything we are trying to achieve – whether in the heart of Borneo, where we are working with our neighbours to protect one of the world’s largest and oldest rainforests; or the Central Forest Spine project, which aims to link four of Peninsular Malaysia’s largest forests into a single wildlife sanctuary,” he said.
Conservationists have criticised ongoing deforestation in Malaysia by local officials and illegal gangs.