Govt firm on ESG-focused development projects for 2023, says Tengku Zafrul

KUALA LUMPUR: The government's position for 2023 remains firm in enabling the implementation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-focused development projects and programmes.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the government had outlined a few key priorities in the recently announced Budget 2023 pre-budget statement, including Malaysia's strategic transition from the current recovery phase to longer-term reforms.

"These include facilitating better income opportunities and improving holistic wellbeing to achieve Keluarga Malaysia's vision of a more inclusive and sustainable development," he said during his speech at the launch of Khazanah Nasional Bhd's sustainability framework and medium-term targets here today.

Khazanah launched the framework to guide the sovereign wealth fund and its key investee companies to deliver sustainable value by integrating ESG considerations into their core business.

Tengku Zafrul said the ministry is confident that both the public and private sectors will play their respective roles and contribute to the success of Malaysia's sustainability efforts and goals.

"It is thus encouraging to see that Khazanah, as well as other government-linked companies (GLCs) such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Tenaga Nasional Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, and Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), embrace the sustainability agenda by incorporating ESG into their core strategies and embedding it throughout their operations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives," he said.

Khazanah managing director Datuk Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir said the framework is holistic, captured under the three main pillars of ESG, and focuses on issues that most impact the organisation and its portfolio from a business materiality point of view.

At the launch, Khazanah also presented its views on the need for businesses to focus on a just and responsible transition.

Amirul Feisal said that as the country's sovereign wealth fund, it is pivotal for Khazanah to ensure its actions support and encourage a responsible transition towards a more resilient and inclusive economy.

He added that due to the complex and diverse nature of companies in its portfolio, Khazanah would take a collaborative approach to work with its investee companies to shift towards a more sustainable business model.

"This will ensure that these companies remain competitive and resilient against challenges faced and enable them to take advantage of sectors and themes benefiting from ESG tailwinds," he said.

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