Penang Hills Watch: No protection of at-risk environmental areas in Budget 2019 – Malay Mail

Penang Hills Watch: No protection of at-risk environmental areas in Budget 2019 – Malay Mail

By Opalyn Mok
8 November 2018

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 2 — Budget 2019 has left out allocations to protect at-risk environmental areas and mitigate climate change, an environmental-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) said today.

Rexy Prakash Chacko of Penang Hills Watch said there was no mention of allocations to protect areas such as hill slopes in Penang.

“These areas need more allocation for monitoring and law enforcement so that disasters like the Bukit Kukus landslide do not happen,” he said.

He welcomed the RM60 million set aside to fund specific projects by state governments to protect and expand existing natural reserves, but said there was no mention of making cities in Malaysia resilient to climate change.

“Much of our infrastructure and cities are not adapted to face these effects and thus rightfully there should have been a substantial allocation for climate change adaptation of our infrastructure as well as making our cities resilient to climate change effects,” he said.

He said the floods in Penang and other extreme weather patterns that are happening in Malaysia more frequently point to the fact that the country is bearing the effects of climate change.

As for Budget allocations for public transportation, Rexy said he did not support the abolishment of tolls for motorcycles using both Penang Bridges.

“Abolishing tolls for motorcycles on the Penang Bridge would only result in more people using privately-owned motorcycles on the bridge to access Penang and this does not bode well with the government’s targets to reduce GHG emissions,” he said.

He said the government should have focused on allocations to improve the ease of accessibility, efficiency of public transport as well as public transport infrastructure, such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes not just in Kuala Lumpur but also Penang which is afflicted by traffic woes.

He said the Budget would have been a good opportunity for the government to incentivise public transport ridership to get more people to switch from private modes of transportation to public ones.