Climate Change and Development Context
Malaysia has a growing, dynamic economy yet maintains more than half its land area in natural forests. It has preserved complex ecosystems and rich biodiversity. The Government of Malaysia has emphasized the need to continue to grow the economy to increase its per-capita productivity and income, eradicate poverty, and raise living standards. A key goal as outlined in Vision 2020, the Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011–2015), and the Economic Transformation Program is to become a high-income, developed nation by 2020. The Government of Malaysia has demonstrated willingness to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as it pursues climate-resilient development.
A specific commitment was the conditional announcement at COP 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009 that Malaysia would reduce its carbon intensity to GDP by 40 percent from its 2005 level by 2020. The actual energy intensity to GDP started to decline from about 2008.
Malaysia is a significant oil and natural gas producer and is strategically located in seaborne energy routes in Southeast Asia. Commercial energy supply was dominated in 2013 by natural gas and oil (in total comprising approximately 78 percent of supply), followed by coal (20 percent) and hydropower and other renewable (approximately 2 percent). By 2020, the share of natural gas is expected to decrease slightly, countered by an increase in oil and coal, hydro-electricity and renewables respectively for transportation and power generation. Final energy demand in 2010 was dominated by transport and industrial uses of energy; this trend is expected to continue. 
Forests cover approximately 59 percent of Malaysia’s land area. Nearly half of the forested area is in Sarawak, followed by Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. A consistent downward trend in total forested areas has occurred since at least the 1970s and is expected into the future. The major driver for deforestation had been the clearance of forests for oil palm, commercial logging, agricultural production, and shifting cultivation. Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil. Palm oil plantations now cover more than 10 percent of Malaysia’s land area.
Key National Institutions, Policies and Initiatives
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) is the focal point for climate change in the Government of Malaysia (GOM). The Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other ministries also are active on climate change issues (e.g., Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry).
A National Steering Committee on Climate Change was established in 1994 to guide national responses on climate change.
The main objectives of the National Policy on Climate Change include mainstreaming climate change through the wise management of resources and enhanced environmental conservation. The policy also aims to strengthen institutional and implementation capacity to better harmonise opportunities to reduce negative impacts on climate change. The policy is based on the principles of sustainable development, coordinated implementation, effective participation and common but differentiated responsibilities.
Basic Data: World Bank – http://data.worldbank.org/country/malaysia
 See Towards Low Carbon Economy via Carbon Intensity Reduction in Malaysia, Khalid Abdul Rahim, University Putra Malaysia Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, ISSN 2222-1700, Vol.5, No.16, 2014.
 Forest Trends, http://www.forest-trends.org/documents/files/doc_4195.pdf.