13-Sep-2004HARI : Isnin


Assalamualaikum dan selamat pagi,
Mr. Chairman,
Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd Wahid Samsudin Deputy Vice Chancellor Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Professor Dr. Jamaluddin Md Jahi, Chairman Organizing Committee.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to this Conference. It is an honour to be asked to officiate the Opening of the 2nd Bangi World Conference on Environmental Management. I am proud that UKM has taken the initiative to continue the international series of seminars on Environmental management. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as part of Malaysia’s public institute of higher learning has long been a proponent of effective environmental management locally and internationally.
Malaysia as a nation has always given much consideration to all aspects of managing the environment. Given its standing as a small developing nation, the various actvities to improve the environment by the nation should be commended. Malaysia’s voice as a representative of the Southern Nations have brought to bear the importance of viewing the environment from the specific perspective of not only the Malaysian community but also those developing countries that need to come to an equitable balance between development and the management of the environment.
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government too has had much to do with efforts toward managing the environment, especially through the sustainable development and Agenda 21 initiatives. The Local Agenda 21 Pilot Project is an initiative implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHLG) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in co-operation with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister's Department.
The mission of this pilot project is to implement the Local Agenda 21 process in four selected local authorities and to use lessons learnt from these four sites as guidelines (for replication) for the other local authorities in the country. Local Agenda 21 (LA21) is a programme to forge partnerships between local authorities (such as District Councils, Municipal Councils, City Councils and City Halls) and the communities they serve to work together to plan and care for their surroundings towards sustainable development.
Through LA21, local communities will, together with their local authority, identify and analyse local sustainable development issues, and then formulate and implement action plans to address them.
The ministry is also especially concerned with on-going issues such as solid waste management and green-engineering. Municipalities spend an average of 40% - 70% of taxes available to them on collecting and disposing of waste. Municipalities also face the problem of inadequate suitable space for waste disposal. The Recyling Programme by the Ministry is aimed at reducing the need for waste disposal sites through recyling. Apart from that we are also reducing the need to import used materials for our local industries. For example, in 2002 we imported as much as 790 thousand tones of used paper worth more than RM1.22 billion. We are also importing used glass and plastic at an average of 6000 tons per year.
Malaysia, in its 47th year is maturing fast. The environmental problems that it face are also increasing, as is common in any growing economy, but Malaysia is tackling these problems seriously. Solid waste management need to go beyond re-use, reduce, and re-cycle, and to re-think the entire concept behind waste management that takes advantage and in consideration of local conditions, including local culture.
Another environmental issue that the Ministry have tried to improve is the landscape of our urban setting. The urban landscape is part of the determinants for a good quality of life, that requires improvements that are more than just beautification programmes. The use of concepts such as ecosystems management are beginning to be used to look at landscapes in a more holistic manner. Let us also not forget that the environment also consists of people, their security and welfare to be considered in ensuring a better life. The control, management and response to disasters; fire, flooding and other calamities should also be of concern to environmental management.
Malaysia, as a nation, also need to look at ways to better integrate the management of the environment. The idea of integrated environmental management has been around for a long time, yet its effective application is still questionable. We need to work out ways to break compartmentalization through better collaborations between various agencies, including local universities.
There is also the need to seriously look at environmental management at the regional and global level. The various environmental problems today require us to look beyond our boundaries and be able to talk and work with our neighbours to solve our common problems. For example, the Habitat Agenda is a global call to action at all levels. It addresses two themes of equal global importance " Adequate Shelter for All" and "Sustainable Human Settlement Development in an Urbanizing World".
I am sure that this conference brings together experts from all fields in environmental management. I am also told that participation goes beyond the academic to include government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector. I am confident that these meeting of the minds can help enhance and improve environmental management not only in Malaysia but other nations as well. I hope that the exchange of experiences, techniques and ideas in this conference can be synthesized and forwarded to the appropriate agencies to make full use of its findings.
With that, I officially declare the 2nd Bangi World Conference on Environmental Management opened.
Thank You.