KUALA LUMPUR: The government remains committed to prioritising environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)-focused development programmes and projects as outlined in the 2023 pre-budget statement, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
He said these ESG-focused priorities are also key enablers for Malaysia to transition from the current recovery phase to longer-term reforms as outlined in the 12th Malaysia Plan.
"Thus, Budget 2023 has a sharper focus on holistic development and well-being, facilitated by improved income opportunities for all,” he said in his keynote address at the launch of the Edotco Sustainability Blueprint and Report 2021 here today.
Tengku Zafrul said the government would ramp up the implementation of various sustainability strategies and measures under Budget 2022 that would support Malaysia’s longer-term ESG-based aspirations.
He emphasised that lasting transformation can only be achieved when the whole nation - including the public and private sector - rally behind a common sustainability vision.
"We can no longer afford to ignore the key structural issues that were exacerbated by the pandemic, as well as the many climate change-related national disasters that have beset the country which caused unnecessary loss of lives and property, year-in, year-out,” he added.,
On the links between sustainability and technology, Tengku Zafrul noted that the information and communications technology sector is responsible for about three per cent to four per cent of global carbon emissions -- twice the size of even the aviation sector.
Much of this was influenced by the recent pandemic, due to the increase in data to power digital applications, and will only increase moving forward, he said.
"But we also recognise that there is a pressing need to bridge digital divides across nations and rural-urban societies,” he said.
He highlighted that Malaysia is accelerating its connectivity agenda, which includes ensuring 5G coverage in 80 per cent of populated areas by end-2024.
"Nonetheless, like our regional neighbours, we must also be cognisant of the more adverse environmental effects of unchecked digital development.
"Innovation must continue to flourish for all to reap its benefits - and connectivity is the blood that gives it life.
"Therefore, we must look at how we can work together to realise shared benefits, without adversely impacting the environment,” he added. - Bernama