S’pore firms keen on RD with Malaysian companies

By B.K. SIDHU in Singapore

SINGAPOREAN companies have indicated interest to work with their Malaysian counterparts in research and development with regards to biotechnology, agriculture, and information and communications technology (ICT), said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Jamaludin Jarjis.  

He also told Malaysian reporters in Singapore yesterday that the Singapore government's investment arm, Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, was keen to explore opportunities in the Malaysian energy sector.  

“Temasek also suggested that I attend the CEO conference of the power industry of be held later this year. As you know there is excess power in Malaysia and if there is some cooperative effort between Malaysia, Singapore and even Indonesia, we could possibly work on the Asean Grid (again to make it a reality),” he said.  

He added that “investment” by Temasek could mean an alliance or collaboration and not necessarily buying a stake in a company. 

Temasek officials were not available for comment.  

Datuk Jamaludin Jarjis

But in the past, Temasek has invested in several companies in Malaysia as part of its strategy is to invest beyond Singapore’s shores.  

Temasek manages a diversified global portfolio of S$90bil, spanning Singapore, Asia and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development economies. Since March 2004, it owns a 5% stake in Telekom Malaysia Bhd. This March it ended up with a 15% stake in Malaysian Plantations Bhd, which owns Alliance Bank Bhd.  

Jamaludin said given the vast resources and talent in Singapore and Malaysia, it was perhaps timely for the countries to leverage on each other's expertise and tap into new markets beyond their shores. 

He cited research and development, and intellectual property as areas for cooperation, and sectors could include biotechnology, agriculture, ICT, and even energy.  

“It is timely for Malaysia to revisit our R&D capabilities and bilateral synergistic initiatives in R&D. We should to share research capacity and develop products for the global markets,” he said.  

Jamaludin was a guest of honour at the Temasek-hosted dinner for the KL Business Club (KLBC) in Singapore. About 120 corporate captains from both countries including Temasek executive director and CEO Ho Ching, were present.  

“The government is creating the environment and it is for the private sector to find the initiative,” Jamaludin said.  

KLBC president Datuk Munir Majid described the dinner as “highly successful” and the networking opportunity could well serve as a platform not just for “interaction”پ between the corporate captains but also for future business deals.  

Many of the businessmen interviewed were very enthusiastic about having an opportunity to meet their counterparts in the hope of working together, not only in their respective countries but on the global arena as well.  

Avenue Capital Bhd group managing director Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz described the event as the “best way of doing networking.” 

Singapore’s SMRT Corp Ltd president and CEO Saw Phaik Hwa said she was glad for the opportunity to meet so many Malaysian businessmen in one venue.  

“It all about business and networking, it is a comfort knowing each other and that they are just a phone call away,” she said. 

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