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IPW: Malaysia invests in green infrastructure, and Singapore’s Budget focuses on climate resilience

Date
07 March 2023

In this week’s Infrastructure Policy Watch, Malaysia furthers investment in sustainable projects and Singapore’s progress towards a green economy.

IPW: Malaysia invests in green infrastructure, and Singapore’s Budget focuses on climate resilience
The 2023 Malaysia Budget focused around inclusive and sustainable economic growth, including the accelerated restoration of public infrastructure and rural facilities. Image credit: Shutterstock

Malaysia government announces approval of RM4.9bn worth of green projects

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) has announced the approval of green technology projects worth RM4.9bn.

These projects are mostly focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry in Malaysia is proactively encouraging investments emphasising sustainable development based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards to align with the New Investment Policy launched in October 2022.

MIDA said that over 1,500 new jobs were expected to be created as a result of those investments and that tax reliefs would prompt companies to undertake green technology projects.

International Trade and Industry Minister Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz highlighted that sustainability is a core policy under Malaysia Madani.

Malaysia Madani is a five-year development plan from 2021-2025 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on GDP by 45% in 2030, in line with the government’s aim to achieve net zero by 2050.

This follows on from the 2023 Malaysia Budget focused around inclusive and sustainable economic growth, including the accelerated restoration of public infrastructure and rural facilities.

Projects highlighted within the Budget include:

  • greater disaster management preparedness
  • retendering of flood mitigation projects
  • road maintenance, upgrading and construction

Additionally, the Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) will be improved by increasing the guarantee value to RM3 billion until 2025.

The ICE’s view

Malaysia’s announcements highlight the intention to stimulate economic investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, alongside green finance commitments.

This is in line with the global trend of countries increasing their efforts to accelerate the net zero transition.

The current energy crisis is an opportunity for governments to continue the push towards low carbon energy systems.

However, there’s still more that governments could do to accelerate deployment of renewable technology.

The previous Malaysian national vision, Malaysia 2020, was featured in the Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) programme as a good example of how to establish a national vision that subsequently drives infrastructure investment.

Singapore Budget 2023 – what does it mean for the country’s green economy transition?

Singapore’s 2023 Budget focused on reaffirming commitment to existing measures, such as:

  • raising carbon tax;
  • rebates for cleaner vehicles;
  • energy efficient grants; and
  • a coastal and flood protection fund.

Climate resilience is a future area of key importance across Singapore.

Promised increases in climate spending in the medium term, including for adaptation measures such as coastal and flood protection, are vital.

The goal is to create new opportunities for the infrastructure sector to play a leading role in the green economy transition.

The ICE’s view

It was encouraging to see a focus on climate resilience in the latest 2023 Singapore Budget.

Enhancing resilience is a continuous process, where learning is key to creating policies and standards for reducing the impacts of shocks. This involves significant changes and refinements through lessons learned.

The Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) programme supports assessing the national characteristics of countries as a precursor to setting up infrastructure plans (see Principle 4).

In focusing on resilience and adaptation, Singapore’s government is committed to developing long-term solutions to protect its citizens.

In case you missed it:

  • Key takeaways from the UK's nationally significant infrastructure projects action plan
  • ICE analyses the Hong Kong Budget 2023-24
  • Pinsent Masons partner Rob Morson examines priorities for infrastructure spending in South Africa’s 2023 budget

Check back in a fortnight for the next edition of the ICE's Infrastructure Policy Watch.

You can also sign up to ICE Informs to get a monthly digest of the latest policy activities from ICE, including calls for evidence to support our ongoing advice to policymakers.

  • Laura Cunliffe-Hall, interim lead policy manager at ICE