Happy Chinese New Year!

By Wong Chen

I have been relatively busy in the first month of 2024. While Parliament is in recess, I have been pre-occupied by foreign policy, renewable energy policy work and community work. I have also been travelling a bit, with a visit to Singapore and then to Hong Kong.

On the foreign policy front, I have been keeping track of the Israel-Palestine war. The war may be far away but it has far-reaching economic and global trade implications. While atrocities are continuing, the pace of killings have slowed significantly. It is also encouraging and important that the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, recently ordered Israel to take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza.

Like Parliament, my Parliamentary Select Committee on International Relations and International Trade committee is also on recess. However, I did join the Speaker, Tan Sri Johari Abdul to meet the United States House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Indo-Pacific. We had a long 90 minutes discussion with four members of the US Congress, led by Hon. Young Kim. The discussion centred on several topics but avoided the more contentious issues. We discussed at length the issues of labour, palm oil, rare earth, trade and technology.

In addition, I have been meeting diplomats at several official functions. It was very good to catch up with the Ambassadors and High Commissioners from, Brazil, Britain, Cuba, European Union, Finland, France, India, Nepal, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Thailand. I have also been active on Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) matters, joining two important zoom events to discuss (a) our working group charter on science and technology, and (b) the bewildering topic of human rights and artificial intelligence.

Now, on to the matter of renewable energy. As non-executive chairman of Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd (MDV), I have a duty to ensure that MDV is ready and continue to fund renewable energy projects in 2024. Since this is the big rollout yet for National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR), the government’s big push for renewable energy, MDV is making even better preparations this year. We need to at least double if not triple our funds for renewable energy this year.

Last but not least, I want to just highlight a bit of our community work. At the time of writing, we are still waiting for our community federal funds for 2024 to come in.

However, we did save some money and have carried forward that saved money from last year. This enabled us to pay out about RM100,000 to some 200 families affected by the flash floods of last December.

When our community funds do come in (which is expected any time now) my office will inform the community and we will start to distribute grants to associations, schools and fund some community projects. Until then, I want to wish all a very prosperous and Happy Chinese New Year!