Tuesday 1 September, 2020: Malaysian banks are the target of an international climate campaign launching today to highlight the disparity between the bank’s clean energy rhetoric and its continued funding of coal power.

See: CIMB is funding a hotter earth

The ‘Hotter Earth’ campaign is a parody of CIMB’s well-publicised Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit, planned for October this year.

“CIMB rightly states we face an ‘unprecedented global climate emergency,’ meaning ‘we can neither live in denial nor ignore the need for urgent action.’ However, the bank continues to fund the construction of coal-fired power stations, which are the biggest culprits in terms of worsening the climate crisis,” said Didit Wicaksono, Climate and Energy Campaigner from Greenpeace Indonesia.”

“Simply put, new coal and action on climate are incompatible. We are calling on CIMB to live up to its promises and announce an end to financing new coal-fired power stations.”

According to new data released earlier this year, CIMB, Maybank and RHB provided US$4.9 billion in finance to the coal sector between 2010 and 2019. More than half of this was provided by CIMB, which lent over US$2.68bn to coal power over the period. This year, CIMB was part of a consortium which agreed to finance the construction of the highly controversial Jawa 9/10 coal plant in Indonesia.

“By financing Jawa 9/10, CIMB just burdened our climate and Indonesian communities with a massive new 2000 MW coal project and would lock Indonesia into using coal until 2045. It is against experts’ advice that the world needs to completely phase out coal power by 2040 to meet the Paris Agreement,” said Yuyun Indradi, Executive Director of Indonesia-based organization, Trend Asia.

This is also despite stark warnings from Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia’s Central Bank, which has repeatedly highlighted the critical importance of financial institutions managing climate risk.


CIMB, Maybank and RHB’s lending to coal power and renewable energy* from 2010 to 2019
Bank Sector Bond arrangement (US$m) Lending (US$m) Total (US$m)
CIMB Coal $2,445 $240 $2,685
Maybank Coal $1,291 $507 $1,797
RHB Coal $180 $256 $435
Total $4,917


Worryingly, Malaysian banks are falling behind a global trend, with over 110 financial institutions having already implemented policies to restrict or end coal finance. Last year, all three large Singaporean banks, UOB, DBS and OCBC, as well as Cathay Financial Holdings of Taiwan, announced new policies to end coal power project finance.

“CIMB has an opportunity to be a clean and just energy leader in Southeast Asia,” said Merah Johansyah, National Coordinator of Jatam, Indonesian Mining Advocacy Network. “In doing so it will significantly reduce its exposure to stranded assets in the failing coal sector, as well as providing a critical boost to the millions of people affected by the climate crisis and by the scourge of air pollution.”

“CIMB clearly recognised clean energy is the future. But to safeguard this future, it must end coal investment now.”