By Rekha Sevaloga Nathan
*This story has been originally produced in Tamil for Berita RTM as part of the ‘PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia’ aimed at producing Malaysian climate change stories in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil. An English summary is provided below.
This video story investigates public opinion, perception and understanding regarding climate change in Malaysia. It explains the steps that the Malaysian government has taken in tackling climate change and what can we do as individuals.
Climate change is a global problem. The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change bringing together all countries to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. Malaysia is also a signatory to the Paris Agreement by committing to reduce greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030. Through the agreement, 196 countries have agreed to a goal of limiting global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Global warming is one of the main causes of climate change, which leads to torrential rains, flash floods and droughts, By 2050, the country’s climate is expected to increase from 0.9 per cent to 1.6 per cent, according to the NC3 report by the energy, science, technology, environment and agriculture ministry. In particular, the report states that the climate in central Sabah and parts of Peninsular Malaysia is on the rise. However, another study suggests that between 2025 and 2035, we will experience an increased risk of drought in Peninsula Malaysia.
I interviewed Mohan Kumar Simmathiri, Chief Assistant Director at the Malaysian Meteorological Department who said, “Actually, every year in February to March, some areas in the country will experience temperature increase. This is because rain distribution will be reduced, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. In addition, the wind distribution will cause the composition of water vapour to change, leading to an increase in temperature.”
“In 2016, former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, in the next 20 years, the use of carbon dioxide gas will be controlled or reduced up to 40%. In these five years, as electrical vehicle consumption increases, large factories are using new technologies to reduce electrical consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. These are the steps that the government is still taking.”
I also interviewed Sathis Venkitasamy, Senior Officer (River Care Program) from Global Environment Centre, a non-profit NGO in Malaysia working towards achieving environmental sustainability:
“Scientists are still conducting studies on climate change. This is because society is still unaware or does not know its effects on life on this earth. We still need a medium to understand it further. We can take water as an example. Three main effects will arise if water is reduced or excessive. Sea-level rise, excessive rain distribution or drought, especially at this time, we can feel it in our country. Sometimes the rain distribution is suddenly excessive in some areas creating lightning floods. Society understands climate change, but many do not know or understand that situations like this are related to climate change. Such awareness is still lacking and appropriate steps should be taken to foster awareness.”
*This video has been originally produced as part of the ‘PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia’ project organised by Science Media Centre (SMC) Malaysia, in collaboration with British High Commission Kuala Lumpur and EcoKnights. It was first published on 25th May 2021 via Berita RTM’s Social Media page. Link here: https://youtu.be/qHBhZmbs5gE
**Read more about PANAS! here: https://sciencemediacentremalaysia.com/panasclimatechangestories/
Rekha Sevaloga Nathan has 14 years of experience in news and TV program production, graduating from the University of Malaya in 2014 with a Bachelor Degree in Law (Bachelor of Jurisprudence). In 2017 and 2018, she won the first prize in Anugerah Media Kesihatan for excellence in scripting and video editing skills. Currently, as a news editor (Penerbit Rancangan B41) at Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), Jabatan Penyiaran Malaysia, KKMM, Rekha enjoys using her skills to contribute to the exciting news advances that happen every day around the country and the globe.