Monday, May 20

BioNexus-status firms to play more prominent role

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian BioNexus-status companies are expected to play a more prominent role as they undertake more aggressive commercialisation activities, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau.

He said Malaysia now has a network of 286 BioNexus companies and moving forward, the country needed to sustain the momentum for more aggressive commercialisation activities from them.

“The strategy will focus on strengthening partnerships between the public and private sectors, aswellastoprovideadvisory and business support in the areas of funding, commercialisation, entrepreneurship, regulatory and human capital for the continual development of bio-based businesses,” he said at the opening BioMalaysia and Asia-Pacific Bioeconomy 2017 (BioMalaysia 2017) Conference and Exhibition.

The text of his speech was read by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Secretary- General, Datuk Seri Mohd Azhar Yahaya, who also launched the event here yesterday.

Tangau said Malaysia was wellprimed to excel in the bio-based sector by focusing on the core elements such as high-impact, high-growth and high-technology sectors that were capable of driving the development of home-grown technologies to generate new economic opportunities and create a broad spectrum of novel industry sectors in the country.

“We are pushing the boundaries of transformation to ensure that the changes brought upon are truly holistic and inclusive and encompassing economic, governance and social development.

“In line with the National Transformation 2050 aspiration, more aggressive approaches are needed to spur and sustain growth for Malaysia in the next 30 years,” he said.

He said in line with the people- centric concept, the Bioeconomy Community Development Programme (BCDP), designed to harness the power of rural farms and farmers in partnership with BioNexus companies, was aimed at creating an inclusive bio-based sector that would benefit the general populace.

“In addition to enhancing the role and contribution of farmers, the BCDP correspondingly elevate the socio-economic status of rural communities by opening up new avenue for wealth generation,” he said.

The BioNexus status confers financial incentives, including tax exemptions from 100 per cent of statutory income for the first ten years, from the first year that statutory income is derived to double deductions for expenditure incurred from research and development promotion.

Malaysia’s premier and largest annual bio-based event in the region, BioMalaysia 2017, is back for the 15th year and will take place from Sept 11-13.

This year’s event, themed.

‘Bioeconomy — Driving growth and prosperity of the nation’, will focus on the bioeconomy development efforts that drive the growth and prosperity of the nation.

The event, led by MOSTI and jointly organised by Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corp Sdn Bhd (Bioeconomy Corp) MyEvent International, is set to attract 10,000 top regional and global leaders from the biobased sector and will include open-style talks, career fairs, exhibitions, business partnering programmes, workshops and industry meetings.

Meanwhile, at a media briefing on the sidelines of the event, Bioeconomy Corp chairman, Prof Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, said awareness on biotechnology products has to come before the demand set in.

“Many countries are jumping on the bandwagon to rejuvenate the biotechnology sector and Malaysia took a proactive role in 2012 by being the second country in Asia to have a dedicated bioeconomy roadmap.

“The awareness rose through the new global consciousness to acknowledge sustainability and with the possibility that the natural resources may deplete,” he said.

New Bioeconomy Corp chief executive officer, Dr Shuhaizam Zain, saidlocalBioNexuscompanies were expected to contribute up 1.5 per cent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) worth around RM2.1 billion by 2025, from presently 0.97 per cent GDP contribution.

He said out of a current network of a total of 286 BioNexus companies, only 37 had penetrated global market, especially with the biodegradable products, to South- East Asia, West Asia and Europe market.

“The network of active BioNexus companies are expected to doubleup by 2025.

The market demand will cause the biotechnology industry to compete with among each other to come out with the reasearch and the products,” he said. — Bernama