Climate issues ‘largely ignored’ in election campaigns

A political analyst noted that he did not see any significant environmental issues being used as campaign fodder for the upcoming elections.


No political will: Climate change is wreaking havoc on people’s lives, with major floods and rising temperatures becoming increasingly apparent.

July 24, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – Climate change and the environment are not major issues during political campaigning, says analysts.

This is despite the annual east coast floods and even the soaring temperatures recorded this year.

Political analyst Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood said he did not see any significant environmental issues being used as campaign fodder for the upcoming six state elections.

“Take the frequent flooding problem in the east coast – apparently, it has not affected votes for the incumbent government, for example, in Kelantan,” he said.

Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan said environmental issues had not been raised by candidates in the last few general or state elections.

“I have never come across environmental issues. As such, I do not think they resonate with voters.“Even though there were a number of young idealistic candidates in 15th General Election (last year), during the campaigning period, they did not touch on these issues.

“It would not attract much attention or votes compared to other countries, where environmental issues can be a big concern and can be a pull factor for candidates,” he said.

In Malaysia, climate change is not deemed to be a big issue because the effects are not really felt by everyone except maybe when there’s flooding or storms, he added.

Azmi said people consider such events as natural disasters and politicians do not raise the issue to garner votes.

Prof Dr P. Agamuthu, from the Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development at Sunway University, said even though climate change was a hot topic, environmental issues are often sidelined in political campaigns.

“It is a global issue but there is no political attachment here. We see more of the day-to-day issues being talked about during campaigns,” he said.

Prof Agamuthu said there could be a general lack of understanding at all levels of society, where many people are unable to comprehend and understand the implications.

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