Malaysia has potential to promote science and technology, forum told

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has great potential to develop science and technology (S&T) as a key strategic tool to propel growth, said director general of India’s internationally renowned Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr R.A. Mashelkar. 

This was primarily due to the country’s track record as well as long-term policies currently outlined in the Ninth Malaysia Plan, he said in a statement yesterday. 

Mashelkar was in Malaysia for three days at the invitation of the National Implementation Directorate (NID) for a series of dialogue sessions with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi and key public and private sector figures. 

Mashelkar also had a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, during which the PM called for greater partnership in S&T between the two countries, especially in information and communications technology and biotechnology. 

Abdullah said Malaysia could definitely benefit from India’s experience in promoting and integrating S&T into their economy. 

Effendi, who chaired the two-day NID dialogue session, said the country needed to absorb the new wave of scientific advances in the world.  

“The only way is to pursue a R&D-(research and development) driven innovative knowledge-based enterprise economy,” he added.  

During the dialogue, Mashelkar said as S&T was a “very dynamic and fast moving'' industry, there was a need to retain and attract the best brains. 

“Malaysia needs to create local demand to retain the S&T professionals the country produces,” he said. 

The Government, he said, should also consider adopting a more liberal policy in recruiting foreign expertise and attracting the best brains back to Malaysia. 

He added that India had benefited greatly from the contribution of non-resident Indians who had returned to the home country. 

However, in the long term, human capital development must be intensified as it was vital in sustaining growth in the sector, he added. 

Based on India’s experience, he advised that Malaysia focused its R&D efforts on areas that could benefit key sectors in the economy, citing agriculture and indigenous sectors, in which Malaysia had clear advantages due to the country’s bio-diversity.  

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