Malaysians to join Global Climate Strike on Sept 21

Soo Wern Jun
Tourists wear masks as they walk past the Petronas Twin Towers shrouded in haze in Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Malaysians will take part in the Global Climate Strike this month, The Star reported today.

Within the country, it will start with a month-long Ops Darurat Iklim (Climate Emergency Operation) featuring workshops and documentary screenings.

The Malaysian chapter of the global campaign is demanding urgent government action to address the climate change crisis, before culminating in a rally on September 21.

Among those involved in organising the local chapter of the campaign are Klima Action Malaysia (Kamy), Greenpeace Malaysia and Amnesty International Malaysia.

Kamy co-founder Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar said Ops Darurat Iklim will centre on the transboundary haze affecting Malaysia and some of its Asean neighbours.

“Malaysia is living in denial by being ‘selective’ in releasing government data on the environmental situation here and ‘denying’ access to this data.

“Malaysia just has 18 per cent of its virgin forests left but the government says there is more than 50 per cent forest cover — that is selective messaging,” she said.

Over 250 people are expected to gather and march from Sogo KL to Dataran Merdeka at 4.30pm on that day to voice their environmental demands.

Ili Nadiah added that it was timely for Malaysia to join the climate justice movement, especially since it has massive traction globally and Malaysia has failed to keep up with it.

“It would be a waste if we don’t take this opportunity to push the climate agenda in Malaysia,” she said.

Through the strike, Ili Nadiah said Kamy is also hoping to reach out to the bottom 40 per cent group. 

Known for conducting its campaigns in Bahasa Melayu, Ili Nadiah said marginalised groups such as the B40 have been left out from current campaigns due to language barriers.

She added that the strike will also be an exercise in freedom of speech to communicate Kamy’s four demands to the government.

These four demands are to “smash” the wall of political and media silence on the climate crisis, declare a climate emergency for financial and policy mobilisation, raise awareness among Malaysians about the climate crisis and raise the visibility of the climate narrative from developing countries.

Ili Nadiah also urged Malaysians of all ages and from across society to join the strike in Kuala Lumpur.

She said that it was important to add a South-east Asian voice to the global movement since the climate narrative has always been told from the Western viewpoint.

The Global Climate Strike, spearheaded by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, will take place ahead of the United Nations Emergency Climate Summit on September 23.

It comes as forest fires in the Amazon, central Africa, Arctic regions in Siberia, Australia, Indonesia and more countries are burning at a historic pace.

In Malaysia, fires are happening in the Johan Setia peatlands in Selangor as well as in Johor and Sarawak.

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