MALAYSIANS can rejoice for Earth Day as the landmark decision by the Federal Court on the Taman Rimba Kiara issue epitomises the need to preserve and protect the natural environment.
The theme for this year is “Invest In Our Planet” and we should be doing so instead of only investing in shareholder value without regard to other stakeholders.
There are many selfish developers with unquenchable thirsts for bigger profits at the expense of the environment.
Our world needs transformation. It is time for people to hold governments and the private sector accountable for their role in our environmental crisis.
This requires immediate action at all levels, from businesses and banks to local and federal government.
The people need to be heard as you yield the real power for change through your influence as a consumer, a voter, and a community member.
Don’t underestimate your power when you are united. The residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) demonstrated the drive, energy, enthusiasm and commitment to a sustainable and equitable future for our planet.
They managed to stave off the might of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), which tried to invade Taman Rimba Kiara.
Many have been shortchanged and the government has a duty to correct this.
Invest in our planet means dedicating our time, resources, and energy to solving climate change and other environmental issues.
Together, we are supporting healthy and happy communities worldwide.
Just planting trees will not do, we need to preserve what is readily available. This will help support the present local populations of butterflies, bees, and other organisms that are critical to biodiversity.
The fact is that the investment should start with schools. Education is the foundation of a prosperous and thriving civilisation.
A successful society is one that respects nature, and these values are born in the classroom. Nurture our children to grow into intelligent and responsible citizens and ensure that environmental values are passed along to the next generation.
The government must not forget the recent Batang Kali landslide, the 2021 floods, and many challenges and unresolved issues.
Also, Malaysia’s pledge to retain at least 50% of its land mass under forest cover to showcase our sustainability commitment.
As of 2022, Malaysia has kept 54% of its forests. However, one major concern is that it can provide a false sense of security and accomplishment because the target is based on a forest definition that does not consider biodiversity.
We need to develop a clear legal framework to clarify actors’ obligations and responsibilities and accountability measures.
The Department of Environment should be more proactive. It should enhance the present Environmental Impact Assessment study.
Meanwhile, it should think of a more advanced comprehensive study or holistic environmental assessment (HEA) to include environmental, social and climate risks in spatial planning, local plans and other sectoral economic policies.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Further, we need an independent and apolitical oversight body.
What say you? – April 22, 2023.
* Saleh Mohammed reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.