MALAYSIA – The Pakatan Harapan government’s initiatives to address transboundary haze and pollution issues were revealed through a RM30 million allocation to the Department of Environment and the Chemistry Department to resolve the issue.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in presenting the 2020 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat today said the allocation was aimed at increasing the capability and capacity of both agencies.
He said the effort was aimed at promoting environmental sustainability after the country was alarmed by the incidents of pollution of the Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang and recent cross-border haze issues affecting the health of the people.
To mitigate the occurrence of flash floods, Lim said the government would allocate RM443.9 million for the Flood Mitigation Plan and RM150 million to maintain the management of the existing flood retention ponds.
“In addition, to help farmers affected by natural disasters, the government will set up a RM100 million Disaster Assistance Fund to provide loans at a four percent interest rate,” Lim said.
Under the 2020 Budget themed “Equal Growth and Success Towards Shared Prosperity”, Lim said the government was also committed to preserving the natural forest and biodiversity by allocating RM48 million for the purpose.
“A sum of RM10 million will be allocated to the private sector as a matching grant. These efforts include supporting the initiative of the Central Forest Spine and the Heart of Borneo in addition to rehabilitating degenerated forest areas,” he said.
The government, according to Lim, supports all efforts to protect endangered animals including the Malayan tigers and orangutans by providing RM15 million to the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
He said there were fewer than 200 Malayan tigers and 11,000 orangutans left in the wild.
For the same purpose, Lim said a sum of RM20 million was allocated to recruit forest rangers from retired soldiers and the local Orang Asli community who know their land best to protect the flora and fauna.
On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Lim said the government would allocate RM10 million for the Government-UN joint fund to co-finance SDG initiatives in Malaysia.
“In addition, the government will allocate RM5 million for the Special Select Committee as well as SDG-related activities at the grassroots level involving MPs and the local community,” he said. – Bernama