KUCHING: The newly approved Sarawak Research and Development Council will enable better coordination and collaboration among research institutions in the state.
Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said the council would also strengthen research work and help commercialise research findings.
“We have a few research institutions but each works in silo. There is no collaboration or coordination among them.
“The establishment of the council is not to take away their autonomy but to coordinate and work together, such as helping them to apply for funds,” he said after tabling the Sarawak Research and Development Council Bill at the state assembly.
The Bill was passed after a short debate, paving the way for the council to be set up.
Manyin said the council would also look into the commercialisation of research findings and sharing of intellectual property rights with the institutions.
“They will have a certain percentage in the intellectual property rights, but we have yet to decide what it will be,” he said.
He added that research funding was likely to increase once the council was set up and research areas of focus identified.
Research funding for Sarawak under the 11th Malaysia Plan amounts to RM103.3mil or 0.08% of the state’s GDP. This includes RM11.8mil allocated to Craun Research, RM5mil to Tropical Peat Research Institute, RM27.5mil to Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, RM20mil to Agriculture Research Centre, RM8mil to the Forest Department and RM31mil to Sarawak Forestry Corporation.
When tabling the Bill earlier, Manyin said the council would support and facilitate research and development in Sarawak; build and manage research facilities; and provide financial assistance for research work, among others.
He said it would also facilitate collaboration between local researchers and institutions with foreign counterparts to enhance R&D in various fields, especially clinical, pharmaceutical and biodiversity.
The council will be headed by the Chief Minister and comprise six to 12 other members. A panel of advisers will also be set up to assist the council.
“We will appoint competent, experienced people as members of the council,” Manyin said.
The state assembly also passed the Regional Corridors Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill.
Tabled by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, the amendment was meant to strengthen the Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) in planning and project implementation by doing away with specific appointments of deputy chairmen and empowering the Chief Minister to appoint a person to temporarily carry out the chairman’s functions in the event the chairman is unable to act.
Did you find this article insightful?