Crucial to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability, says Prof Al-Khalid

Prof Al-Khalid giving his opening remarks at the ‘Sustainable City Hackathon 2022’.

KUCHING, Oct 28: It is crucial to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability that aims for the proper utilisation of natural resources and integration of climate adaptation and mitigation plans, said Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) deputy chief scientist cum deputy chief advisor Prof Ir Ts Dr Al-Khalid Othman.

In a media release, Prof Al-Khalid emphasised that this approach will allow the prioritisation of the sustainable use of land and ocean resources for economic growth and improved livelihood and jobs concurrently with the preservation of the health of the land and ocean ecosystem.

“Sustainability played a crucial role in ensuring the viability of the planet and controlling the warming of the planet.


“Despite that, we are still faced with challenges such as the ‘urban heat island’ effect where heat is trapped among the infrastructures and buildings which increases the consumption of electricity due to the high usage of air-conditioning, poor indoor environments like the lack of ventilation in addition to careless procedures in waste management,” he said.

Prof Al-Khalid highlighted this at the ‘Sustainable City Hackathon 2022’ in conjunction with Sarawak Civil Service Innovation Month 2022, held at the Creative Heritage Innovation Centre (CHIC), SMA office here today.

He pointed out that cities are the leading factor of economic growth and are the centralised points of the population, urbanisation that have been contributing a significant factor in the increase of wastage and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

“Through smart and sustainable innovations, the community can utilise Information and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to improve their quality of life, efficient operations and services while ensuring their practices are sustainable and align with the 7R basics,” he said.

As such, he stressed that education on sustainability issues is crucial for generating awareness and changing the behaviour of the academic community, enterprises, government and society toward a sustainable future. With the objectives of generating enthusiasm and awareness about sustainability issues among students.

On the event, Prof Al-Khalid said, the main focus was to bring students from various universities with different education backgrounds, experiences, skill sets, and interests, empowering them to participate in a collaborative setting in brainstorming and work together to produce impactful solutions or innovative products relevant to the concept of a low carbon city by embedding the 7R principles of sustainability, namely Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repair, Regift, Recycle (Upcycle) and Recover.

“In fact, by organising this type of event such as ‘the Smart and Sustainable City Hackathon 2022 or similar programmes that aims to protect the planet, it encourages the current and future generations to invent products that are sustainable, practical and safe to use and being the changemakers for a brighter and cleaner future,” he reiterated.

Prof Al-Khalid hopes that more industries and higher institutions take a serious stand and to take immediate action against the rising and adverse effects of high levels of carbon emissions.

At the same event, SMA general manager Dr Ts Zaidi Razak stressed that sustainability of the State’s environment is one of the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 strategic thrusts to further enhance the State’s environmental sustainability that contributes to the development of the Sarawak Sustainable Environment Blueprint.

“This is to ensure that our environment is preserved for current and next generation and it is good to have more organisations in Sarawak to be involved and achieve this goal,” he said.

The expected outcome of the ‘Smart and Sustainable City Hackathon 2022’ event is the skills that can be instilled, developed, and utilised among participants throughout the 48 hours period of the Hackathon event.

The event was organised by SMA in collaboration with Unimas’ Institute of Sustainable and Renewable Energy (ISuRE).

In conjunction with the event, the participants were given the chance to win the awards in six categories, which offered RM3,000 for the Grand Prize, RM2,000 for 1st Runner Up, and RM1,000 for 2nd Runner Up, Creative and Innovation Award, Best Design Award, and Smart and Sustainable Award.

The participants were given 48 hours to produce an innovative solution based on the 7R concept.

A total of 45 participants from five different academic institutions namely Unimas, Institut Latihan Perindustrian, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) ICATS, and Cosmopoint College Kuching took part in the three-day event. — DayakDaily