Fo­rum: High time for Malaysia to have com­pre­hen­sive en­ergy pol­icy

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - News - By TENNIELLE CHUA starbiz@thes­tar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s en­ergy pol­icy seems to be fac­ing a num­ber of chal­lenges, par­tic­u­larly a frag­mented pol­icy view on its as­pi­ra­tion to reach the tar­get of 20% re­new­able en­ergy ma­trix by 2025.

“The gov­ern­ment stated in its man­i­festo that it in­tended to in­crease the re­new­able en­ergy sup­ply from 2% to 20% by 2025 and to fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing green tech­nol­ogy and re­new­able en­ergy,” said Asia School of Busi­ness as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of man­age­ment Dr Re­nato Lima de Oliviera.

How­ever, a lot more needed to be done to pro­vide a “greener” al­ter­na­tive to Malaysia’s car­bon-heavy en­ergy bal­ance, he said at a fo­rum en­ti­tled “Pow­er­ing the fu­ture: Malaysia’s en­ergy pol­icy chal­lenges”.

It was or­gan­ised in as­so­ci­a­tion with the In­sti­tute for Democ­racy and Eco­nomic Af­fairs.

It ex­plored the pos­si­bil­i­ties of al­ter­na­tive en­ergy re­sources where Malaysia has been, “grad­u­ally im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies to pro­mote re­new­ables but they have yet to move the nee­dle in the di­rec­tion of less car­bon.”

The sen­ti­ment was echoed by Malaysian Gas As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ros­man Hamzah.

“The only ap­pli­ca­ble na­tional en­ergy pol­icy that we have was tabled in 1979. That was the only en­ergy pol­icy that we had at that time.

“Sub­se­quently, we had a new en­ergy pol­icy im­ple­mented in the 10th Malaysia Plan which looked into strength­en­ing the (en­ergy) in­dus­try in­clud­ing gas short­ages and is­sues re­lat- ing to power,” he said.

Un­like the rest of the world, Malaysia’s en­ergy ma­trix is be­com­ing more car­bon-heavy with coal in­creas­ing from 5% in 1996 to 20% in 2016, ac­cord­ing to Oliviera.

He also called at­ten­tion to the fact that pol­icy mak­ers would need to “de­vise poli­cies to ex­pand the sup­ply and gen­er­a­tion of nat­u­ral gas (to re­place coal) and dras­ti­cally in­cen­tivise low-car­bon sources of en­ergy such as so­lar to de-car­bonise the en­ergy ma­trix as promised by the Pakatan Hara­pan man­i­festo.”

Ros­man said: “The thing with the (fu­ture) of en­ergy in Malaysia is that it is frag­mented. It’s about time we have a com­pre­hen­sive en­ergy pol­icy.”

Malaysia has launched long-term ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing the “Trans­for­masi Na­sional 2050” (TN50).

On July 19 last year, the TN50 (oil gas and en­ergy) sec­re­tar­iat called for “a fully-lib­er­alised mar­ket in the en­ergy sec­tor, in­crease of re­new­ables in the en­ergy ma­trix and more in­vest­ments in en­ergy in­no­va­tion to reach 3% of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct by 2050 from less than 1% cur­rently.”

The par­tic­i­pants at the fo­rum also called for a shift from coal to re­new­able re­sources.

“Malaysia has a cen­tralised en­ergy in­no­va­tion model, with Petro­liam Na­sional Bhd at the top.

“Pub­lic poli­cies to pro­mote in­no­va­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion can in­clude match­ing funds, re­search con­sor­tiums, high-tech­nol­ogy gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment, in­no­va­tion calls, and sup­plier de­vel­op­ment pro­grams,” said Oliviera.

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