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The Founding President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin. Photo: TVS

Sustainable Development Goals: Achieving success requires collective effort

ByAhmad Azlan Shah

KUCHING, May 3: The formation of the National Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Council is a clear affirmation of Malaysia’s commitment towards sustainable practices.

However, according to the Founding President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin, true success lies in community, private sector, and civil society involvement, emphasizing collective responsibility.

“It’s been some years since the SDGs were released as a concept, and Malaysia did get on board with the formation of the National SDG Council.

”I think what’s really interesting is the embracing of the SDGs by communities, the private sector, and civil society.

“I think that’s actually more important in making sure that the SDGs continue to be a goal that is being achieved by the whole of society,” he said when met by TVS at the Yayasan Sarawak Building here today.

At the same time, he also assessed that Malaysia’s progress reveals a mixed picture, with successes in poverty reduction but challenges in education and institutional reform.

Zain added that this underscores the need for targeted interventions across various sectors to ensure comprehensive advancement.

“I think it’s very mixed. I mean, you have 17 goals. Inevitably, in some cases, we’re going to be more successful than others.

“There’s many areas that are still in need of reform when it comes to education. For example, goal number 16, we talk about institutions. I think there’s a lot more that we can do on institutional reform. So it really depends,” he explained.

Zain continued by saying that balancing economic growth with environmental conservation is a key challenge. While development is essential, it must align with sustainability goals.

Therefore, tackling corruption and inefficiency is crucial to effective implementation of sustainable practices.

Zain also praised Sarawak’s pursuit of autonomy beyond the restoration of MA63, particularly in healthcare and education, as he looks to Sarawak to see if more state autonomy could mean better results in relation to SDGs.

“You know, coming from the Peninsular, what is really interesting about Sarawak is the move towards more and more autonomy and more and more decentralisation.

“If you have this autonomy, do you get better results? Are you able to deliver the SDGs better?

“If yes, then more autonomy and more decentralisation is what should happen everywhere across Malaysia, not just in Sarawak,” he said.-TVS

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