Malaysia not fully ready to tackle climate change: Study

03 Aug 2017 / 20:32 H.

    PETALING JAYA: As the threat of severe flooding continues to rise in Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s business sustainability practitioners are the most concerned about the country’s resources to guard against extreme weather events and floods, compared to their regional counterparts.
    This is according to a study released by global pump leader Grundfos and sustainability-focused social enterprise Eco-Business Research titled “Flood controls in Southeast Asia”.
    The study surveyed 417 sustainability industry leaders across Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. About 20% or 86 respondents, were from Malaysia.
    The study revealed, nearly 70% of respondents across Southeast Asia predicted that their home country will continue to face extreme weather events over the next decade, taking a significant toll on local economies and infrastructure. The majority of respondents believe average temperatures have become higher and monsoon seasons have become more unpredictable.
    These predictions are particularly worrying for a country like Malaysia with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development already estimating that by 2070 the country’s most exposed cities could lose up to US$84 billion (RM359.8 billion) in combined assets due to severe weather events.
    Although Malaysia has not suffered as many severe floods as some of its neighbours in recent years, incidences such as in January and May this year, can cause devastation and massive disruption to livelihoods. Unfortunately, the situation is predicted to get worse, with more intense rain predicted in the coming decades.
    Malaysia respondents were also less likely to agree that their country was working adequately with neighbours to address the issue, although other countries also shared the same concern.
    Some of the best practice solutions could involve natural methods such as replanting of mangroves or the application of smart technologies such as sensors, rain animation charts, and intelligent pumping solutions, some of which are already in use by Malaysia.
    Key findings from Malaysia respondents include 60% of respondents did not believe rural and urban planning for extreme weather events in their country was effective, the highest as compared to their regional counterparts; 74% believe that Malaysia has not allocated sufficient government funding to tackle extreme weather events and climate conditions; and 66% did not agree that their country works well with neighbours to produce solutions for climate change.

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