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Raising public awareness remains Wan Junaidi's biggest challenge as minister

Raising public awareness remains Wan Junaidi's biggest challenge as minister
Wan Junaidi (pix) says Malaysia contributes very minimal emission when compared to other nations like America and China. Filepic
PUTRAJAYA: Raising public awareness on the preservation of the environment remains the biggest challenge for Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said it was the responsibility of every segment of the society to cut emissions as much as possible to preserve the environment.

"If we do not conserve it now, we will lose it and will not be able to recover it in the short period of time," he said when interviewed by Bernama News Channel (BNC) in its special programme 'Our Nation, Our Environment at his office here recently.

On Malaysia's pledge to reduce 45 per cent of carbon dioxide greenhouse emissions by 2030, he stressed Malaysia was moving at the right direction towards achieving its target to address climate change and global warming.

"With all developments in the country, there will be emission. This is a huge task for my ministry and Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water to introduce new things in order we can do development but reduce carbon emission.
"Therefore, we are moving in the right direction under the guidance of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is very firm and passionate about the environment," he said.

Wan Junaidi said the government had taken various steps including in the Green Technology Master Plan which focused on six key areas, namely energy, transportation, building, manufacturing, water management and waste management.

"Malaysia contributes very minimal emission when compared to other nations like America and China. That is why Malaysia is considered one of the successful nations," he added.

Asked on his vision on green Malaysia, Wan Junaidi said Malaysia had preserved 54.5 per cent of forest areas exceeding the set target of 50 per cent in forest preservation.

He said Malaysia was recognised as one of 12 mega diverse countries in the world, with unique natural heritage which has evolved over 130 million years, with very rich flora and fauna.

"Malaysia remains committed to maintain at least 50 per cent of its land area under forest and tree cover. This pledge was made initially by Prime Minister Najib in 1992 at Rio Summit.

"In the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), I too reinforced the pledge to keep our forest to not less than 50 per cent," he said adding that the current 54.5 per cent forest cover amounted to over 18 million hectares.

On water security measures, Wan Junaidi said his ministry was finalising the new Water Resources Act to ensure improved regulations for the state government to enforce Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM).

"This act will strengthen water resource management in Malaysia. A strong commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders are needed including public awareness to have a better and cleaner river," he said.

Malaysia is blessed with access to clean water almost every day as research reveals a typical Malaysian household uses 500 litres of water daily compared to the 155 litres in Singapore and 90 litres in Thailand.

Wan Junaidi added NRE was also committed to support and implement the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development (SDG) especially on the security aspect of water resource for the nation.

BNC will air the interview on Astro 502 at 10 pm, Friday (March 31). -- Bernama