Abang Johari (fourth left) with (from left) Ik Pahon, Penguang, Jok, Len Talif, Abdul Hamed at the NREB 25th anniversary at The Waterfront hotel, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Any approaches or future undertakings with regard to environmental management will be based on Sarawak’s own mould, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In stressing this, he said that the state is targeting to reduce carbon emissions through the use of hydrogen in order to ensure an environment-friendly ecosystem.

“We have to be both sensitive and aggressive in this area as our neighbouring countries are also looking into the adoption of hydrogen,” he said whilst pointing out that Indonesia has sought advice from foreign countries for the adoption of the new energy source.

Abang Johari expressed relief that Sarawak has its own powers on environment through recent discussions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) steering committee as he believed that only Sarawakians knows what is best for the state.

“That is why the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) will play a huge role in the development process to ensure that as we develop, we would also have a good environment ecosystem.

“At this juncture, I would like to express my appreciation to the federal government and the prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) for agreeing to give authority to the state to look after the environment,” he said when officiating at the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) 25th anniversary dinner at a hotel here on Wednesday.

Abang Johari (fourth left) with (from left) Ik Pahon, Penguang, Jok, Len Talif, Abdul Hamed at the NREB 25th anniversary at The Waterfront hotel, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

Abang Johari said, as a result of the newly obtained authority, the NREB ordinance was amended in the last State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting to ensure that the process of environmental management is in line with the Environmental Quality Act 1974 tabled in parliament at the federal level.

The chief minister also outlined that Sarawak has to play a part in sustainable development, offering a balance to development along with the need to conserve environment, ensuring that it remains unaffected.

“We also have to create awareness through educational promotion among the young as well as the old. This is to ensure that the future generations inherit a clean environment,” he said.

He added that citizens and the corporate sector also have to play their role to ensure their processes are environmentally friendly.

“In developing our industry, we must uphold the importance of preserving our environment. That is why Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is important.”

Abang Johari said that Sarawak has to set its sights onto the future by adopting modern technology in the development process.

At the function, the chief minister witnessed an exchange of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) through its HSSE (health, safety, security and environment) group vice-president Marconi Madai and NREB Sarawak controller of environmental quality Justine Jok Jau Emang.

Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd – Sarawak Gas also exchanged a similar MOU with NREB.

Also present were the chief minister’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Urban Development and Natural Resources Assistant Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh, Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil, deputy State Secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik, Naim Holdings Berhad chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi; Forest Department Sarawak director Datuk Hamden Mohammad among others.