Image: Victor Barro
The Malaysian environment is out of balance. Sustaining high growth rates does not equate to sustainable development. A preference for mega-projects over more environmentally friendly options disturbs the natural balance of water catchment zones, riddles hill slopes with unstable soils, erodes our natural heritage, compromises the quality of water and air and also threatens public health, the lives and livelihood of communities that depend on natural resources and a clean environment.
Malaysia has travelled on the path to progress without sober reflection on the unsightly side of development, preferring to forge ahead until disaster strikes. Environmental and socio-economic concerns should not be seen somehow separable from development ambitions. The time is long overdue for a new approach to our environmental as well as economic progress.
Although Malaysia has a series of policies, strategic and institutional instruments that contribute to achieving sustainable development goals, there are several challenges to be overcome. There is also lack of awareness on sustainable development concepts and initiatives and also a lack in political will that act as barriers towards progress on sustainable development in Malaysia.
The greatest challenge facing the Government is to effectively plan and implement existing policies and strategies. SAM believes that a balance between environment and development must be struck and we try to ensure this from time to time when we expose the wrongdoers and take them to task.