Poll shows voters most concern with pollution of rivers and seas
According to an online survey on environmental concerns that was carried out between February and March this year, of the 1,603 respondents, more than 86% are concerned with pollution of rivers and seas. More than 84% are concerned with deforestation/illegal logging. Meanwhile more than 80% are equally concerned with the following: rubbish not properly managed/recycled, loss of park/forests/beaches/natural areas to development, and climate change/global warming /extreme weather.
Next on the list, on declining order but still ranking high are Illegal hunting and selling of endangered animals (75%), air pollution from vehicles, factories/open burning (72%), and forest fires/haze (69%) Last on the list of concern, but still high at 61% is over fishing/less and less fish in the sea every year. The graph below shows the different types and percentage of environmental topics that Malaysians are concerned based on the survey.
On another question, 95% of the respondents say they are either concerned or very concerned about the natural environment in general. While 84% are interested to know more about political parties' environmental aspirations for the nation.
When examining the data for those who are planning to vote, 69% would consider the environment as one of the factors that could decide their votes; while 24% said likely.
The respondent age profile is 36% in the age group of 21-30 years, 38.6% in the age group of 31-45, 18% in the group of 46-60 and 4% for those above 61 years old.
“These high numbers indicate serious concern amongst the voting public about environmental issues, and also signify questions about the nation’s development path. We seek deep commitment, sincerity and clear resolution from our political leadership that these issues will be placed high on their agenda and that they will collaborate with civil society to make the shifts imperative for a progressive and balanced future for all,” highlighted Cynthia Ong, the Executive Chair of Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) Spiral.
The President of Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Henry Goh said, “MNS would like to draw attention to the fact that in order for sustainable development to take place, it is essential that the general public is consulted and their views are taken into consideration.” He added that this online survey was carried out after the Open Letter urging all political parties to prioritise environment and sustainable development in their manifestos, to enable the public to indicate to the politicians the environmental matters they are concerned about.
It was announced during the press conference today that the Sarawak Eco-Warriors, a newly-formed NGO consisting of enthusiastic youths and students from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), as well as Hunger Hurts Malaysia, an NGO that believes in poverty-free Malaysia, are joining to support the Open Letter, topping the list to 20 NGOs that have signed the Open Letter.
WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma hoped that politicians from all political parties and independent candidates will recognise the environmental aspirations of the people, particularly the youth.
“We appeal to all politicians to inform the voters how you will work towards realising those aspirations for the benefits of the people and, more specifically, what would you do in the first 100 days, if you are elected to form the government. We must aim to achieve development in a sustainable way to balance our aspirations for economic growth without compromising our natural capital (environmental assets, social systems, cultural resources). Only then can we ensure higher standards of living for current and future generations,” Dato’ Sharma added.
The NGOs that signed the Open Letter are Biji-biji Initiative, Civil Society Organisations for Sustainable Development Goals (CSO-SDG) Alliance, Ecocentric Transitions, EcoKnights, Environmental Protection Society Malaysia (EPSM), Friends of Sarawak Museum (FOSM), Hunger Hurts Malaysia, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) Spiral, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), #PowerShiftMsia, Reef Check Malaysia, Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (SAWO), Sabah Environmental Trust, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society, Sarawak Eco-Warriors, Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM), Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES), Wetlands International Malaysia and WWF-Malaysia. The Open Letter is available in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil.
The online survey is still open for responses and can be accessed at http://www.bit.ly/GE14envSv
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Datuk Denison Jayasooria
Civil Society Organisations for Sustainable Development Goals (CSO-SDG) Alliance
Firdaus Nisha Muhammad Faizal
Environmental Protection Society Malaysia (EPSM)
Friends of Sarawak Museum (FOSM)
Hunger Hurts Malaysia
Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) Spiral
Malaysian Nature Society
Reef Check Malaysia
Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (SAWO)
Dr Rahimatsah Amat
Sabah Environmental Trust
Datuk Zainie Aucasa
Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society
Rebecca Jothi D’Cruz
Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA)
Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari
Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM)
Christa & Leela
Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES)
Wetlands International Malaysia
Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma
For more information, please contact:
Sheena Wong Sin-Yee