Closing Speech by Penang Chief Minister cum Chairman of Penang Green Council
During Certificate Presentation Ceremony of Penang Green Idol 2017
on 22 April 2017 at 1st Avenue:
Good evening and Happy Earth day!
First of all, thank you for gracing our event today to celebrate Earth Day with us. Earth Day is observed by many countries on April 22 each year to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide. And we are no exception this day, every year, to demonstrate support to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations.
This year, Earth Day coincides with the Final Round of Penang Green Idol Public Speaking Competition. This competition is a pre-event of the Penang International Green Carnival which will be held on 9 & 10 September 2017, we hope this learning platform equips the young with skills to speak persuasively and to listen to opinions on environmental issues and concerns, critically and constructively.
Congratulations to the young talents who made it to the Final!
The State Government has a vision to make Penang a “Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Healthier, and Happier” state. Since 2010, we have kicked start a series of environmental initiatives to promote resource efficiency such as free CAT BUS, No Free Plastic Bags Every day, total ban on polystyrene food containers, giving incentives to GBI certified buildings, building cycling lanes and introduce Link Bike sharing system, implementing Waste Segregation at Source policy.
We have achieved the highest recycling rate in the country of 32% as compared to the national average of 10.5% and hope to increase the current recycling rate from 32% to 40% by 2020. We had never allowed logging on permanent forest reserves, not a single square inch has been touched. Furthermore, we have planted more than 271,000 new trees in Penang since 2008.
Penang is the first state to oppose Nuclear power energy plants in Malaysia and we will continue to do so. Since 2010, the Federal government proposed building two mega nuclear power plants in Malaysia. We are worried that the Federal Government will sign contracts with nuclear power plant industry secretly again without the knowledge of the people.
It is unacceptable that the Government continues to keep the rakyat in the dark over its plan to build nuclear power plants. Given the latest development, we are deeply concern that the Government is pushing ahead to adopt this highly-controversial energy source as it continues to pay lip service to stakeholders' consultation.
Unlike Climate Change, 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. In general, scientists' disputes over the safety and sustainability of the nuclear power plants are unresolved. Safe and secure ultra-long-term storage of nuclear waste is still unresolved. Many developed countries such as Germany have gradually opted out nuclear power plants. Government's investment on energy efficiency and renewable energy is becoming more appealing and affordable than nuclear power plants alongside policies introduced by their governments.
On this special occasion, we would like to show our support and solidarity with the online petition relaunched by Malaysia Coalition Against Nuclear (MyCan), all the signatures that we collected will be submitted to Putrajaya together with the online petition of MyCan in the near future.
Lastly, congratulations to finalists, who will soon be crowned as Penang Green Idol, who will help converging effort to spread revolutionary ideas and raise awareness on climate change in PGC’s programmes and projects for the duration of one year. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our collaborator, Penang Gavel Club, the venue sponsor, 1st Avenue Mall and Koo Bros for partially sponsoring the video production.
I hope to see all of you in our next major annual event – Penang International Green Carnival 2017 in September!