Proud of Tengku Hassanal’s green initiatives, Malaysia’s Queen says youth vital in addressing climate change

The Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah has made his mother – Malaysia’s Queen, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah – super proud.

Tunku Azizah paid tribute to the green initiatives by Tengku Hassanal in their home state of Pahang, as she addressed delegates at the ‘Climate Talks for a Green Future’ at the Turkish Pavillion in conjunction with the on-going 28th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Expo City in Dubai this evening.

Admitting that her generation did not do enough for the environment, Tunku Azizah called on world leaders to empower youths to lead efforts in tackling climate change.

Also present at COP28 is Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

Below is Tunku Azizah’s speech in full:

“I would like to thank my dear sister, Her Excellency Madam Emine Erdoğan, the First Lady of the Republic of Turkiye for her invitation to speak at the Turkish Pavillion today on why the youth should lead climate action.

I am grateful to Allah SWT that I can be here today with you. It is an honour to attend the 28th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and to have this opportunity to share my thoughts on why the youth should be at the forefront of climate action.

We are in the midst of a climate crisis. The world is getting warmer, resulting in natural disasters, weather extremes, food insecurity, and global anxiety. This is why it is important that we are here together to discuss these issues and how we can save our planet.

Today I would like to talk about a young man, a man who believes in unity for action and delivery. A man so passionate about climate action, preservation and conservation. He is my son, His Royal Highness The Crown Prince Hassanal of Pahang, who has much inspired me.

He is here today and has been participating since COP26 in Glasgow, then privately, so he can learn. And he returned inspired. He has been on this path since his early years. When he was much younger, he used to tell me how he wanted to protect his surroundings, the jungle, and the animals.

He has been hard at work protecting our state’s (Pahang) environment and addressing the issue of food security by modernising traditional agricultural practices.

In his forward vision for climate action, he has successfully produced a blueprint for conservation for Pahang. On the ground, he is preserving a large peat swamp. He is also focused on protecting our Malayan Tigers, a critically endangered species. I’m so glad to share that he has persuaded the state to gazette a large area of land to be the first tiger reserve in Southeast Asia.

Most significantly, he has persuaded our state government to commit to be Net Zero by 2030. He says that Pahang will be net surplus by 2050, due to our high forest cover and low emissions industries, so 2030 is a realistic aspiration. I am proud of him not just because he is my son, but because he is young and he represents our country’s youth. Insya-allah he will achieve his vision.

I am not only inspired by his vision, but also by his activism, which I want to share here as it reminds us of the role the youth can play in climate action.

At COP27, he was invited by the Singapore government to speak at their Pavilion on Youth and Sustainability. He was invited to be a member of a roundtable by the Thunderbird School of Business with government and corporate leaders. He was also invited to speak at the Malaysian Government Pavilion on peat protection. In addition, he spoke at Project Tiger in India about his efforts to protect the Malayan Tiger.

This year will be his third COP. He will be giving keynote speeches on Dec 2 at both the Malaysian and Singaporean Pavillions on ‘Forging Green Economy’ and again on Dec 6 at the Malaysian Pavillion on ‘Biodiversity and Water’. He tells me that he is excited to share the progress which he has made in the last 12 months. He does his mother and country proud. I have to say, that is pretty amazing progress to happen within one year.

He reminds me that my generation did not do enough for the environment. And sadly, many of the negative impacts of the global climate have been a consequence of my generation.

There is hope in our youth. He tells me that it’s the responsibility of the young generation to address the negative impacts of climate change. As he is blessed to be in a position of some influence, he sees it as his responsibility to try to lead the youth of Pahang to address climate change and achieve Net Zero by 2030.

This is a young man who has been talking about recycling and making Pahang a garden state since his young days. He is walking the talk. He has made many angry and unhappy, but he stands firm and is not swayed by them. I am so proud of him and stand by his side for our planet’s future.

I hope that his efforts will encourage the other youth in the rest of Malaysia, and hopefully the rest of the world, to do their part in climate action.

So this is my call – let’s call on our governments and parents to listen to our youth. I listened to my son, and I am so grateful. My eyes are wide open, and I have learnt so much from him and his peers. Perhaps it’s true that my generation did not pay attention to climate change, but it is not too late for us. Alhamdulillah, we have our youth who have the energy and vision to make those changes to save our planet.

Let us encourage and support them and make their future sustainable, bright, and hopeful.”