Without sustainable changes, Malaysia will import more gas for electricity: Rafizi Ramli

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may import more gas for electricity if the government does not make the necessary sustainable changes. 

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said as of last year, Malaysia imported as much as 25 per cent of gas to generate electricity. 

"This situation will continue and this year it is expected that we will import until mid-30 per cent of gas for electricity.

"How do we get the public and stakeholders onboard? We have to tell the truth and the truth is painful," he said at the Intan Minister's Conversation 2024 here today. 

Rafizi said the public sector that manages the government's cash flow understands the country's current state on importing gas but to initiate change, the responsibility falls onto the lawmakers. 

"If we do not do something about this until 2050, we will be fully dependent on gas imports for our electricity. 

"We have seen how countries that rely on gas imports were impacted when geopolitical tensions like those of Russian and Ukraine war erupted. 

"We have to change the energy policy so by 2050 we will not be dependent on other countries to generate electricity," he said. 

On the sustainability efforts by Malaysia, the minister said the country seemed to be far behind neighbouring countries despite the opportunities that it had. 

Rafizi said Malaysia has everything that enabled it to become a sustainable nation such as a strategic geopolitical location and one of the best electrical system in the region. 

"However, we were behind Indonesia because they seemed like they had a plan and were moving forward with sustainability. 

"We have fallen behind because we do not want to take measures that are more challenging. 

"That is why the government launched NETR because we have to be more ambitious. It will be a challenge but there are difficult decisions that tick all the boxes.

"The external world will punish us if we do not do energy transition. We are part of the world and internally, we cannot afford the behaviour that we have now" he added. 

Under the National Energy Transition Roadmap, the government had set a target for Malaysis to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 

Meanwhile, Rafizi said the country's oil supply has reduced significantly and will continue to decline. 

To date, he said Malaysia only produces less than 400,000 barrels of oil, the lowest level reached in history, compared to (a high of) 700,00 barrels about 20 years ago.

"We are discovering less oil in the country. The government receives annual dividend from Petronas and is dependent on it for the past 20 years. 

"For every ringgit we take from the dividend, it reduces Petronas' ability to make new oil discoveries in other countries," he said.

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