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Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani




Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani





Malaysia to focus on agricultural biotechnology
PUTRAJAYA, Sept 24 (Bernama) -- Malaysia wants to carve a niche in thefield of agricultural biotechnology by capitalising on the richness of itsbio-diversity and making the field another platform for its economicgrowth.The move would make the country distinctive among countries which haveattained advancement in biotechnology undertakings, like Australia, Japan,China, Korea and India, Science, Technolgy and Environment Minister DatukSeri Law Hieng Ding said."Malaysia realises that the developed countries are technology-rich, whilewe are bio-resource-rich," he told Bernama in an interview recently.bio-resources and at the same time rank itself among countries advanced inbiotechnology, he said,At the moment, compared with other countries in the Asia-Pacific, Malaysiawas not doing "too badly", especially in agricultural biotechnology, hesaid.Malaysia, being the world leader in the production of several industrialcrops such as palm oil, rubber, cocoa, pepper and tropical timber, hadbuilt a strong agricultural base.Coupled with its rich biodiversity and investments in informationcommunication technology (ICT) infrastructure, it was in an advantageousposition to embark on biotechnology as the next platform for economicgrowth, he said.The government has recognised bioctechnology as one of the five keytechnologies which will help Malaysia become a developed nation and thenext platform for economic growth.To symbolise its commitment, the government has proposed the developmentof the Bio-Valley as a hub for biotechnology activities.The Bio-Valley, proposed under the Eighth Malaysia Plan and to be locatedwithin the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), will house biotechnologyresearch institutions, universities and specialised companies.The biotechnology industry worldwide is projected to generate more thanUS$400 billion in terms of value and 1.2 million places in terms ofemployment by 2010.Law said that although the strongest competitor for Malaysia in the Aseanregion in the biotechnology industry was Singapore, it had no intention tocompete with the island republic."While Singapore has decided to focus on biomedical sciences, Malaysia isfocusing on the sustainable utilisation for its mega bio-resources throughagricultural biotechnology," he said.He said that in the pursuit to develop its biotechnology industry,Malaysia welcomed strategic alliances and research partnerships with theinternational scientific community to undertake joint research anddevelopment and discovery of bioactive compounds from its vast and diversebio-resources.Law said the benefits derived from the commercialization of thediscoveries would be shared equitably between the partners."Much synergy can be gained by working in partnership, including sharingthe benefits of these endeavours," he said.To avoid bio-piracy and promote sustainable development, Law said, thegovernment was formulating a regulatory framework called Access andBenefit-Sharing Bill."This will provide a framework to access our bio-resources and at the sametime provide guidelines on how to share its benefits," he said.He said Malaysia was confident that the biotechnology industry would bewell developed by 2020."We are confident that with all the initiatives, full commitment andsupport, by year 2020, if Malaysia is not fully developed inbiotechnology, it will be quite well developed," he said.