Vivien Langford interviews Jeyakumar Devaraj about how Asean nations can cooperate to improve the minimum wage, the taxation system, climate resilience and food security.
Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj lost his seat in the last election but he is exhilarated that the change of government in Malaysia has permitted a new optimism.
Vivien Langford asks him how a new Bandung Spirit would unleash strong climate action. While waiting and waiting for UN green funds maybe ASEAN nations can work together for a new dispensation.
He says Malaysia shouldn’t have to cut its health budget to plant trees for carbon sequestration. The funds to help developing countries tackle climate change are insufficient but he says even the developed nations are cash strapped and unable to help while their top 0.1% of wealthy corporations evade tax. Malaysians are already experiencing intensified floods and heatwaves.
They produce only 70% of their food so Dr Devaraj has many solutions to protect the population: from flood mitigation to guaranteeing that land is used to produce food first. He is hopeful that new bold laws will enable restoration of forests, rivers and farmlands. Malaysians have witnessed that the unexpected can happen in government and the lesson we can draw is to prepare for the unexpected. Have the projects and blueprints ready. This fits in with the reasoning behind Beyond Zero Emissions and broadens our awareness to our near neighbour.