Haze covering Kuala Lumpur skyline last year.

The Federal Cabinet has approved a proposal for the development of the Malaysian Environmental Performance Index (EPI) by next year, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah said today.

“For this purpose, data would be compiled for the whole country and published annually to provide a more comprehensive and clear picture of the state of the environment in Malaysia.

“Each State would also have its own EPI,” he said when officiating a Car Boot Sale and Sports Day organised by the Kuching Division Journalists Association here.

Speaking to reporters later, he said the EPI, to be implemented under the 10th Malaysia Plan, would be a joint effort between his ministry and Universiti Tecknologi Malaysia (UTM).

“Every state in the country is required to measure their own performance in relation to environmental management, and this proposal will be supported by the various agencies under the ministry,” Uggah said.

He said Malaysia is 54th among 163 countries under the EPI Global.

“Realising the importance of EPI to Malaysia’s competitive edge and international image, my ministry and UTM implemented the EPI Self Assessment Study last year to evaluate the factors that influence, and we come up with steps to make suitable improvements,” he said.

“If you ask how is the Kuching North City Hall performing in term of environment — like looking after the rivers or solid waste disposal or liquid waste disposal, noise control and acreage of trees planted — we have an indicator as to how we perform on all this,” he said.

“If you ask me on how is the response from the public or non-governmental organisations on climate change, all I can say is that the response but we do not have a quantitative yardstick, I say none.

“This is why my ministry has proposed to the Cabinet for us to develop EPI,” he said, adding that EPI is an instrument to measure the performance based on quantitative data.

Uggah said EPI will help the ministry in resource allocation or manpower.

“EPI can also help to make a study on why certain state or local authority has lower standards of environmental performance,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Uggah said climate change has become the greatest challenge to mankind.

“There is enough scientific evidence to show that it is real and happening. According to an United Nations report, there is 90 % certainty that anthropogenic or human induced causes are the main reason for climate change,” he said.

He said Malaysia views the issue of climate change very seriously and wants it to be addressed through multilateral mechanism as the issue is global in nature. — The Sun