PETALING JAYA: An environmental group has called on the Penang government to reconsider plans to capitalise on oil and gas extraction as a potential revenue stream.
Petronas is searching for hydrocarbon reserves in the waters off Perlis, Kedah and Penang, with Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow saying the state government is looking at the possibility of introducing a sales tax from petroleum products if the survey bears fruit.
In a statement, the Network for Ecology and Climate (Jedi) said it is “perplexed” at Chow’s statement, which it said seemed incongruent with Penang’s history of leading in various green initiatives and winning multiple environmental recognition awards.
Noting that numerous governments are transitioning away from oil, gas and coal, Jedi said it is “disheartening” to see Penang potentially taking a step backward by embracing oil and gas in its economy.
“We would like to remind Chow of the Penang Green Agenda Vision, which is to be the greenest state in Malaysia and driven by a green economy by 2030.
“How can Penang achieve its vision of a green economy and a low-carbon state, dedicated to fighting climate change, while simultaneously considering the extraction of revenue through oil and gas resources?
“We call upon Chow to reconsider this decision and champion the cause of a green legacy. Let Penang be a beacon, the first state in Malaysia to reject oil and gas if found, and instead, let us lead the nation in prioritising renewable energy,” it said.
Stating that forward-thinking nations and cities across the globe are progressively moving towards cleaner alternatives, the NGO said Penang should not let short-term gains overshadow its long-term climate responsibility.