Finally A Finance Minister Who Is Serious About Social And Sustainable Economy

Malaysia has seen a revolving door of Finance Minister’s within a span of 5 years, however it’s only apt to highlight that not one of the previous Ministers have put in much thought in preservation of our environment or making our country an example in adopting fully on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

It is very heartening to know our current FM Senator Tengku Zafrul Aziz who himself is an ardent outdoor man, Zafrol loves cycling and running, is ensuring the welfare of all Malaysians present and future in the new Budget 2021. Malaysia-SDG Trust Fund with an initial allocation of RM20 million is a start, this allocation is seen as timely and crucial at a time when many gaps are emerging in the way we look after our environment. The recent spate of river pollution and lack of cohesive safeguarding of our water source led to millions of homes without water supply for days. This was a wake up call for the government and the budget is reflective of the response.

Malaysia’s role in the transition to a sustainable global economy is clearly seen in the various budget measures. In his speech, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul focuses in addressing multiple areas that will benefit when the country moves into a sustainable economy including job creation, elevating our status regionally and globally, and sustaining our natural resources for the future generation.

For the first time in the history of Malaysia, the Budget is aligned with the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).This allows various parties to contribute and be involved in efforts to ensure the SDG is achieved by 2030. This encourages Malaysian companies to embrace sustainable goals, as they stand to benefit in the long term with better governance. 

The sentiment is concurred by Plus Solar CEO Ko Chuan Zhen, according to him a recent report by a Malaysian bank on sustainable bonds demonstrated that there is now an increased awareness of sustainable issues and a rising policy agenda of governments. To this effect the creation of a Sustainable Financial Hub, and positioning Malaysia as a  regional hub for a sustainable lifestyle, the Government will issue its first Sustainability Bond in Malaysia for environmental and social initiatives.

Given that sustainable bonds are loans used to finance projects that bring clear environmental and social-economic benefits, Ko Chuan is excited to see the government take this bold action. As a solar solutionists he is happy to see that out of the total sustainable bonds issued in Asean so far,  47%, or RM2.89bil, nearly half, relates to solar power plant projects.

Another is the allocation of RM2 billion under the Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS 3.0) which will be in force until 2022. This is a great initiative especially for companies who are dedicated towards investing in green technology. Commercial and industrial sectors stand to benefit from the GTFS with one of the main criterias being a 51% legal Malaysian entity and utilisation of green technology.

Given commercial and industrial buildings stand to save the most in terms of energy bills, the RM1 billion for Industrial Digital Transformation Scheme can potentially assist these businesses to adopt IoT technology which can help make energy consumption more intelligent. As for the Save 2.0 program which provides rebates of RM200 to Malaysian households that purchase and install Malaysian made green and energy-saving electrical appliances, this will definitely kick start the journey of Malaysians adopting and familiarising themselves with clean energy. 

The road to rehabilitation is long and arduous, but all journeys starts with a single step, we are glad Tengku Zafrol has willed the government to make its first move. Well done Minister!

Experts of the article is attributed to Plus Solar.

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