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PRESS RELEASE: Malaysia and ASEAN Must Speed Up Energy Efficiency Implementations to Avoid Being Dumping Ground of Non-Energy Efficient Products




Energy efficiency (EE) implementation across the world is limited due to many factors. However, growing demand for energy resources has been the ultimate reason behind this. In addition to that, being energy efficient also reduces operational cost and adds the 'green' perspective to businesses. Some countries have even introduced carbon emission tax regime to add value and speed up the improvement in EE.

AWER has selected few major economies in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand) and all ASEAN members for the purpose of data collection and tabulation to outline a baseline status on EE implementations across these countries. This study is a part of Sustainable Production and Consumption Project sponsored by British High Commission, Kuala Lumpur.


Table 1 shows the carbon emission indicators for selected Asia Pacific and ASEAN countries. Energy use is directly proportionate to carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. From the table, we can observe that a country's energy use and carbon emission is tied closely with its income level and development status. Developed nations and high income nations use more energy and electricity which in result causes higher carbon emission.

EE policy and legislation must be carefully developed and implemented as not all developed nation's EE solution 'mould' can be directly applied in the developing and least developed economies.


The developed nations have larger legal framework via various policies, laws and incentives. Brunei, Cambodia and Laos are in the midst of developing laws relating to EE and conservation. Myanmar has no law relating to this field yet. Indirectly, the developing nations which usually become manufacturing hubs of various industries from developed nations have also adopted many policies and laws to enhance the EE implementation locally.

As an example, the Top Runner programme by Japan has improved EE performance for wide range products domestically in Japan and has introduced a new range of products to the world with competitive pricing. This is a leading example how local programmes influence world market. Countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and China where electrical and electronic manufacturing hubs are focused will also be impacted by such programmes. However, it is entirely up to a country's administration to follow suit the global changes such as this. In Malaysia, we are still at a beginning stage of EE implementations. Contradicting functions among agencies remains as a major stumbling block and introduction of Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) has made it worst.


Standard and labelling would be priority in establishing EE achievement for products, processes and services. Failure in implementing both standard and labelling will result in dubious claims and mislead the end users (including business entities).

Based on the detailed reports and case studies reviewed by AWER, we conclude that a combination of mandatory and voluntary labelling coupled with Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) is vital to “kick out” inefficient products from the market successfully.

MEPS is a minimum performance level set for many types of products. This eliminates inefficient energy consuming products from entering a market by mandatory requirements. Only 8 out of 17 countries we reviewed have implemented MEPS. South Korea and China are leading economies in MEPS implementation. Malaysia still DOES NOT HAVE MEPS in place.

Mandatory labelling is usually imposed for equipments with high energy consumption or likely to be consumed in large quantities or with long hours of usage duration. Korea is a leading country in mandatory labelling implementation to assist end users to choose the right products. Indirectly, this allows product technology and human capital development. Products that are subjected to MEPS but not under mandatory labelling can be allowed to have a voluntary labelling.


Knowledge and best practices sharing can assist to speed up the EE implementation in Malaysia and ASEAN countries. Some of the areas that need immediate actions are:

(i) Reducing gap between equipments that are with and without EE labelling and MEPS within ASEAN region. This is vital to prevent inefficient products being dumped to countries that have not implemented both MEPS and labelling.
(ii) There should be a Global Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) developed as a basic benchmark. Each country can adopt this basic benchmark and can implement a stricter MEPS for their country. MEPS is the most effective way of removing inefficient energy consuming products from the market and it is easier to be implemented for a wide range of products in a short period of time.
(iii) Very few countries have specific programme for stand-by electricity consumption. In the Information Technology (IT) and computerised world, stand-by electricity consumption is surging. Therefore, more focus should also be emphasised for this group of products and their development.
(iv) Indicators for EE measurement should also be made uniform internationally. This is to ensure all countries can participate and actively compete to achieve a better environmental performance. Different indicators will not give harmony in reporting and it will confuse the public and businesses in practising EE.
(v) The developing economies must focus in optimising energy utilisation to prevent increasing energy use in tandem with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. Optimisation via EE can assist developing economies to achieve higher GDP with minimum increase in energy use. Such a move must be part of the development process. ASEAN countries should not start to optimise energy use only at the peak of their economy development.

Based on global green house gas (GHG) abatement cost curve, EE falls under no investment or less investment sector. Many energy audits and studies have given similar trends. This means investment into EE has an immediate return and will not be wasteful. For businesses, the risk of investing into EE is relatively low. Convincing the receiving ends (members of public and business) on the cost saving and environmental benefits of EE needs a whole new advanced method. AWER has begun the process in Malaysia via Click d' Thief, an online Low CO2 Tool to assist residential, commercial, industrial and other sectors to conduct simple energy audit. This energy audit is focused on electricity consumption to outline cost and equivalent carbon footprint. It is available for FREE at www.click.org.my.

Let's CLICK to Low Carbon Lifestyle via Energy Efficiency!


Piarapakaran  S.
Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER)


Table 1: Energy Use, Carbon Emission, Standard and labelling Summary for Selected Asia Pacific and ASEAN Countries compiled by AWER

No. Country

Current income

status [1]

CO2 emissions

(metric tons per capita) [1]

Electric power consumption

for 2009

 (kWh per capita) [1]

Standard and labelling for energy consuming equipments
2007 2008 Mandatory
1 Australia HI 18.1 18.6 11,113 / - /
2 Brunei HI 25.3 27.5 8,662 - / X
3 Cambodia LI 0.3 0.3 131 - - X
4 China UMI 5.2 5.3 2,631 / / /
5 Hong Kong HI 5.8 5.5 5,925 / / X
6 India LMI 1.4 1.5 597 / / /
7 Indonesia LMI 1.6 1.7 590 - - X
8 Japan HI 9.8 9.5 7,819 - / /
9 South Korea HI 10.3 10.5 8,980 / / /
10 Laos LMI 0.3 0.3 n.a. - - X
11 Malaysia UMI 7.2 7.6 3,614 - / X
12 Myanmar LI 0.3 0.3 104 - - X
13 New Zealand HI 7.8 7.8 9,346 / - /
14 Philippines LMI 0.9 0.9 593 / - X
15 Singapore HI 7.8 6.7 7,949 / - /
16 Thailand UMI 4.2 4.2 2,045 - / /
17 Vietnam LMI 1.3 1.5 918 - / X


n.a.: Not Available, HI: High income UMI: Upper middle income, LMI: Lower middle income, LI: Lower income, CO2: Carbon Dioxide, MEPS: Minimum Energy Performance Standard, [1] - Sourced from World Bank

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