Six pilot projects identified as part of national technology and innovation sandbox

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (third from right) during the launching of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox at MAGIC in Cyberjaya.-Starpic

CYBERJAYA: Six pilot projects have been identified as part of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), aimed to accelerate Malaysia's aim in becoming a high-tech and high-income nation.

NTIS, a key initiative under the Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) was launched by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin here on Wednesday (Aug 19).

Muhyiddin said the launch of NTIS is at the right time, especially due to Covid-19.

"The importance of NTIS' cannot be denied in the government's effort to revive the economy through innovation and high technology.

"The pandemic has changed our way of lives. However, in the new norm, there are opportunities present for the government to study and look into certain sectors that need to be enhanced and measures that need to be taken to develop the nation and help the rakyat.

"This is our opportunity to accelerate and compete with the best in the world platform," said Muhyiddin in his speech at the launch here.

Also present were Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, and Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad.

Muhyiddin also urged all quarters from both private and government entities to work together in making the innovation agenda come true to create a better economic environment for the rakyat.

Among the six pilot projects identified to kick start NTIS include the first Malaysian-made delivery robot for hospitals to assist healthcare front liners deliver care to Covid-19 patients; a lightweight robot used in agriculture to increase work efficiency and reduce the number of workers required; an easily scalable semi-ventilator to assist patients with breathing difficulties; a robot to assist recovery of stroke patients and other medical conditions; a drone solution to automate high-precision spraying pesticide; and pick-and-place linear robots for manufacturing industry.

About RM100mil will be disbursed by the end of the year to fast-track development and commercialisation of advanced technology projects, especially those with the highest potential to boost key sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, education, travel and tourism.

The government hopes to receive 100 submissions per cohort, with new cohort every month.

Thus far, 658 submissions have been received and 94 completed applications have been processed for the first cohort.

NTIS aims to create high-skilled job opportunities, increase gross domestic product (GDP), gross national income (GNI), social inclusion, and enhance the participation, investment and collaboration in research by the private sector.

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