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Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Managing Director

Malaysia’s new Minister of Energy is ignighting hope that the Oil and Gas dependent econonomy could become one of the region’s Renewable Energy leaders

In a speech that was described by Renewable Energy campaigner Adrian Lasimbang as “electryfing“, new Malaysian Energy Minister Yeo Bee Yin highlighted that “the new government will focus on Renewable Energy”.

“I know Renewable Energy will be the solution for our long term energy security and affordability”.

The speech came amidst widespread speculation as to whether Malaysia will uphold its commitment “Cut emissions intensity by 35% from 2005 to 2030, or up to 45% with international support” made in Paris in 2015.

While not directly addressing these commitments, Minister Yin outlined that she see’s Renewable Energy as critical to “long term security”, and has previously argued that “Malaysia is not doing enough to reduce its carbon emission level”.

“What we want is affordable, reliable, sustainable and also long term energy security for our Country.”

The Cambridge graduate who is one of only 4 female Ministers in the new government, outlined the government’s pledge to increase the amount of  Renewable Energy in the nation’s energy mix by 10x, “not including Big Hydro”.

“We have a goal of an energy mix, of Renewable Energy excluding Big Hydro, we want to go from 2% to 20%…we have an ambitious plan…and as a government, we want to fulfil our promise to the Malaysian people”.

The Minister also highlighted a number of transparency aims for the country’s Renewable future

Rather than expanding the nation’s Renewable supply in line with growing dependancy on fossil fuels like neighbouring Indonesia and the Philippines, Malaysia will be reducing its coal dependency, immediately.

“If we look a the trend for the last few decades, we see a lot of coal plant development mushrooming…if we do not put a stop on it, more will come..[it is] time to develop a new energy industry, and that is Renewable Energy industry””

Moments later, the audience cheered when she announced the cancellation of 4 energy contracts, which she inferred would have gone to coal companies;

“The new government actually are reviewing many of these Independent Power Producers contracts…these are directly awarding to non-deserving companies.”

“We have actually decided to cancel 4 of them…Malaysia does not need that many Power Plants at the moment.”

In a blog post from February this yead, she further argued that the Oil-exporting nation “should make concerted efforts to diversify from the oil and gas industry and move towards green “pastures” to prepare the country for a global future with less carbon.”

However, she also addressed the point of energy access, highlighting that much of her passion for her new role comes from a 2013 trip to Sarawak in the nation’s East.

The political rising star, who was at the time youngest ever elected legislator for Selangor State Assembly, the country’s most powerful state, said she “saw many people who do not have direct access to electricity…when you go down to the ground and find that we still have kids who do not have light at night to read and to study, and that is not reasonable.”

“I know that Solar Power and Micro-hydro will be the solution to bring light to the rural areas in Sabah and Sarawak and in Peninsular Malaysia”.

Check out her “electrifying” speech below:

Chris Wright

About Chris Wright

Co-founder and Director of Climate Tracker. Based in Borneo. Trail Running convert.