PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia

PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia’ project 2021

Science Media Centre (SMC) Malaysia, in collaboration with British High Commission Kuala Lumpur and EcoKnights, invites Malaysian journalists, writers and content creators to produce local Malaysian stories on climate change in the ‘PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia’ project

BACKGROUND: In the face of climate change, journalists play a major role to help accelerate climate action through advocacy and education. For most vulnerable countries, including Malaysia, the 1.5ºC warming limit reported in the IPCC is crucial as it requires major and immediate transformation. The role of the media in highlighting the impacts of 1.5ºC global warming on natural and human systems will support stakeholders and policymakers address climate change. This is done by providing local statistics, engaging stories and reliable evidence to affect change at a higher level. However, the potential of journalists still remains largely untapped. 

In Malaysia, the main stories covered are often the intersection of climate change and natural disasters. The lack of understanding of climate science and its technicalities also attributes to the inability of journalists to link climate impacts to the public, as well as relating climate change coverage to high-level climate policies such as reports by UNFCCC, including the IPCC. As a result, these topics are reported only at the surface level which lacks in-depth analysis and reflection. The lack of reliable and trustworthy sources for interviews such as climate scientists and experts also results in repeated, one-sided viewpoints. While the nature of Malaysian media coverage tends to be reactive, when empowered, it has the potential to take on a more proactive role to inform, inspire and encourage all stakeholders to take action toward reducing the impacts of climate change.


SMC is seeking to feature ten local stories, responding to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, particularly on the impacts of 1.5ºC global warming on natural and human systems, as well as strengthening the global response to climate change.

Here are some sample story ideas to get your thinking cap on: 

  • Paddy farming seasons have changed in Kelantan and Kedah. A 2020 study reports that farmers associate the changes with climate change. How are they coping?
  • Undi18 appears to be on the fence. Do the youth care about climate change, and will their presence or absence of votes affect Malaysia’s climate action policies?

Why join this project?

  • Your work will be published on your preferred media platform and SMC website
  • Learn from experts on how to write about climate change including fact-checking science data, climate news and laws on climate change issues
  • Be part of a network of climate journalists, writers and content creators who are passionate about climate change and climate action

Following the creation of these new stories, SMC will be producing a digital tool kit targeted at the local media industry, journalists, writers and content creators on writing content addressing the issue of climate change, common myths and misconceptions of climate change including a glossary of local climate action initiatives in Malaysia.


  • Write a 200-word pitch on your story angle and language choice, responding to the IPCC report.
  • Shortlisted journalists, writers and content creators are required to attend a media workshop via Zoom online on 13 March 2021. Attendance is mandatory.
  • During the workshop, participants will also be briefed on the IPCC report and a digital media toolkit will be provided as a reference to produce evidence-based and accurate reporting on climate change topics.
  • Once the story has been written/produced, the winners are encouraged to publish/pitch their story to their preferred media platform(s) or publish on their social media platforms.


  • Open to Malaysian citizens based in Malaysia
  • Pitches will be judged based on creativity, accuracy of information and relevance to the IPCC
  • Ten successful winner will receive RM500 each to produce a 500 to 700-word non-fiction local story, responding to the IPCC
  • Content is not limited to the written format, but also video or audio/podcast versions, equivalent to a 500-700 word story or a 3-5 minute digital news story.
  • We are looking for three submissions in English, three in Bahasa Malaysia, two in Chinese and two in Tamil from Malaysian journalists, writers and content creators (preferably from the mainstream or independent media platforms).
  • Deadline for pitch submission is 5 March 2021. Successful winners will be notified via email by 10 March 2021.

We encourage submissions from a diverse range of journalists, writers and content creators from all states in Malaysia and cultural background.

Kindly fill up this form and submit your pitch latest by 5 March 2021

Submission form in Bahasa Malaysia here:

Questions? Please email

PANAS! Climate Change Stories in Malaysia is funded by the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur and supported by EcoKnights as part of the ‘Communicating Science for Climate Action’ project. PANAS! team members include sustainability and climate change expert, Dr Renard Siew; co-founder and editor of Macaranga, Dr Law Yao Hua; co-founder and chairperson of Klima Action Malaysia (KAMY), Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar; and creative producer, Kevin Bathman. The team is led by Tan Su Lin, co-founder of SMC Malaysia.

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In Malaysia, science-related topics often take a backseat in the local mainstream media platform. It’s time to put science on the forefront by helping us to help our scientific community to thrive, including increasing the numbers of science journalists in this country.

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