Low carbon island status helps Langkawi to shine as world's preferred destination

The government’s intention to transform Langkawi into Malaysia’s first low carbon island by 2030 will help it shines as the world’s preferred tourist destination.

Langkawi Member of Parliament, Datuk Ir Nawawi Ahmad said the selection of the legendary island as the venue for the implementation of the pilot project to reduce carbon emissions was in line with the tourism concept adopted by Langkawi over the years.

“It is in line with our objective of making Langkawi a famous eco-tourism and geopark island, as well as supporting the national agenda to reduce carbon emissions to 40 per cent by the year 2020,” he told Bernama.

Nawawi said this in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that the government, through the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA), had embarked on a pilot project to transform Langkawi into Malaysia’s first low-carbon island at the 6th International GreenTech and Eco-Products Exhibition and Conference 2015 held in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Najib said a feasibility study on Low Carbon Langkawi 2030 was being conducted in collaboration with the government of South Korea, using Jeju Island as a comparative benchmark.

According to Najib, if Langkawi could be a showcase for renewable energy, electric mobility, waste management and green buildings, it would create a ripple effect on local industries.

“(It will) create more job opportunities for locals and increase the island’s income by promoting green tourism,” Najib said.

Commenting further, Nawawi said the Langkawi Infra and Green Practices Parliamentary Council chaired by himself had also been set up to coordinate the planning and action towards achieving the low carbon island status.

He said the Langkawi Municipal Council, the City of Tourism (MPLBP) would act as the secretariat of the parliamentary council and would be assisted by the KeTTHA.

“All agencies, including professionals in the field of green technology from across the country will also be involved (in the council),” he said.

The first meeting of the parliamentary council was held here on Sunday, after which Nawawi announced that a private company, Worldwide Green Bhd, would be appointed as the consultant to help the island achieve the low-carbon status.

Nawawi said in order to ensure success of the low carbon island concept, the government should give priority to providing subsidies or allocation to Langkawi to implement more green technology projects here.

“To achieve this low carbon island status, we should have green activities. If possible, we will move towards electric car adoption in Langkawi,” he said.

While admitting that the proposal would take between five and 10 years to be implemented, he said the first step could be taken by promoting the use of electric-powered motorcycles.

He said Langkawi status as a duty-free island could also be utilised to bring in the latest green technology products to be used by people here at affordable costs.

“I call on the government to consider providing subsidies or grants to taxi associations to reduce the cost of switching to electric cars,” he said.

Meanwhile, MPLBP president Isahak Murat said the council had already implemented a number of actions that were in line with the government’s intention of making Langkawi as a low carbon island.

He said emphasis had also been given to green and sustainability aspects in the MPLBP Langkawi District Local Plan 2030, which was currently being drafted, apart from forging a collaboration with KeTTHA through the establishment of the Low Carbon Island Technical Committee.

Isahak said the technical committee had conducted two series of workshop regarding the concept with the third series to held on Oct 19 and 20 to discuss on the formulation of an action plan.

He said although Jeju Island in South Korea was chosen as a comparative benchmark, Langkawi had certain advantages to achieve the low-carbon status as plans and methods of implementation of the project were already and being put in place.

“Jeju embarked on the project 10 years earlier, but they started from zero. We have already initiated a number of green projects now…we will move faster to set up a planning framework to meet the concept,” he said.

Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) chief executive officer Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, who also attended the parliamentary council’s meeting on Sunday said the new Langkawi tourism blueprint for 2016-2020 would involve green technology and low carbon agenda.

He said the agenda would be integrated in LADA’s current development plans before being made an important part of the overall development plan for Langkawi over the next five years.

“Green technology and low carbon island status will become a new platform for us to improve our position as a geopark, which will make great contribution to Langkawi,” he added.

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