Forum: High time for Malaysia to have comprehensive energy policy
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.