Malaysia has robust framework for ESG — Anifah - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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Malaysia has robust framework for ESG — Anifah

Malaysia has robust framework for ESG — Anifah

08 May 2024

Malaysia boasts a robust framework for Environment, Social, Corporate Governance (ESG), underpinned by an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability, social inclusivity and corporate governance.

And federal initiatives such as the Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance (MCCG) and Bursa Malaysia’s sustainability reporting requirements exemplify the nation’s dedication to upholding these principles, said Invest Sabah Berhad chairman Senator Tan Sri Anifah Aman.

Speaking at the opening of the Environment, Social, Corporate Governance (ESG) Initiatives Awareness Forum at Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort here on Tuesday, Anifah added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s advocacy for carbon emission reduction and promotion of renewable energy epitomise Malaysia’s steadfast commitment to forging a sustainable future.

Anifah’s speech was delivered by Invest Sabah Berhad deputy chairman George Wong Hsueh Cheng.

Anifah said that under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, Sabah has embarked on a comprehensive ESG strategy and the state has taken decisive measures to combat illegal logging, champion reforestation efforts, and transition towards renewable energy sources, including solar and hydroelectric power.

In the realm of social inclusivity, Sabah, he pointed out, remained steadfast in its support for indigenous rights and the advancement of rural communities.

The government’s unwavering commitment to preserving traditional land rights and investing in critical infrastructure, education and healthcare ensures equitable participation in economic progress, Anifah stressed.

“Governance in Sabah is anchored in transparency and the fight against corruption, thus fostering a conducive environment for business and investment. Furthermore, the state is steadfast in promoting sustainable tourism, ensuring that this vital sector flourishes without compromising our natural heritage,” he said.

Anifah said that as the global business landscape continues to evolve, the principles of ESG ascend to greater prominence, adding, “These guiding principles steer us towards integrating sustainability, social responsibility and ethical governance into our operational frameworks. In doing so, we fortify our resilience, attract investment, and contribute to the holistic betterment of society.”

The forum, he said, serves as a conduit for exploring the latest advancements in ESG practices and discerning optimal strategies to navigate this dynamic terrain and also serves as a catalyst for forging strategic alliances and fostering collaborative endeavors in sustainability.

“By engaging with industry stalwarts, policymakers and esteemed academics, we stand to glean invaluable insights and cultivate innovative approaches to ESG. The networking opportunities presented here today offer fertile ground for cultivating relationships with like-minded professionals, thereby catalysing positive transformations within our organizations and broader communities,” he said.

Meanwhile Invest Sabah Berhad CEO and organising chairperson of the event, Dr Firdausi Suffian, in his welcoming address said that it was an honour to host the event in Sabah, as the state is one of the best places in Malaysia in relation to sustainability given its well-recognised, well-preserved biodiversity with its existing governance and regulation, internationally recognised for preserving its biodiversity, and of course one of the economic houses for the country given its considerable contribution in term of resources.

ESG, he said, is tied to the broad theme of sustainability and has been and continues to be an overarching concern in all policy levels as it is an important narrative and needs to be incorporated in our investment ecosystem.

“The role of Invest Sabah is pertinent in this matter, this organisation is poised to be the frontier for attracting investment to the state. We are committed to creating favourable investment climate to attract quality investment to drive structural change with strong emphasis on technology, sustainability, and socioeconomic inclusivity,” he said.

“ESG is not mutually exclusive. It is interrelated by nature. it is important to factor in capacity, capability and feasibility in practising ESG. It is known that with the advance of technology, we can mitigate our environmental degradation but at the same time we need to ensure capacity building is there so it will not compromise our society’s well-being.

“And while configuring policy we need to ensure it is practical and feasible by all. One important thing we need to avoid at policy making is topdown disconnected, bottomup disintegration in pursuing sustainable resilience. We have to work towards an inclusive approach, That’s why today we bring you this forum to discuss the broad challenges of sustainability, climate change and organisation agilities,” said Dr Firdausi.

According to him, the federal and state governments are committed to low-carbon development aimed at restructuring the economic landscape to a more sustainable one in line with the SDG goals.

He stressed that pursuing economic development with sustainable agenda is nothing new in Malaysia and also Sabah.

“Efforts in doing so has been recalibrated, refreshed and reaffirmed in national policy such as Madani Economy framework, 12th Malaysia Plan, Budget 2024, New Industrial Master Plan 2030 and of course National Energy Transitional Roadmap (NETR). In particular, NETR has explicitly stated to meeting the country’s climate commitment to cut 45% carbon intensity against GDP by 2030 compared to the 2005 baseline.

“Similarly in Sabah, the grand Sabah Maju Jaya plan has made a clear policy stance on sustainability with a specific theme under this policy to ensure development is espoused with sustainability and inclusivity,” he said.

The state government, he said, has introduced key gamechanger policies in relation to decarbonisation, renewable energy and sustainability such as Sabah Energy Roadmap and Master Plan, Blue Economy (first state to introduce the policy), Oil Palm Biomass Policy, and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Enactment 2024. All these policies is setting the tone for reducing carbon footprint and to meeting the global agenda for net-zero.

“Sabah policy makers have come out with sustainable governance and regulations more than three decades ago to protect our forest, biodiversity and marine life. The recent 28th Conference of Parties to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has widely praised for Sabah good forest conservation governance, sustainable forest management and increasing carbon stock size of its totally protected forest areas. Under SMJ efforts today our Total Protected Areas have reached 1.9 million hectares. Mind you it is this state that made carbon emission trade-off for West Malaysia,” he pointed out.

Sustainability, Dr Firdausi said, has been an important narrative in Sabah policy-making institutions.

“I remember more than a decade ago, a question was asked to Sabahans to choose tree/ monkey or coal. As we all know coal plant is a cheaper source of energy.

“However, for the love of the environment, Sabahans choose tree/monkey over coal, even though this decision may somehow limit generating energy for the industry and household.

“Based on the preliminary findings, Total Primary Energy Sources (TPES) for national renewable energy comprising hydropower, solar and bioenergy constituted a mere 3.9%. However for Sabah despite our energy challenges so far our TPES accounted for around 7% higher than the national average. Under the current leadership we can see the state will continue working towards a greater sustainable development,” he said.

Source: Borneo Post