THE Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) will hold a conference on “Science and Technology for Industrial Development in Muslim Countries: Facing the challenges of globalisation” in Kuala Lumpur from Oct 7 to Oct 9.
This conference is expected to propose, to the Senior Official Meeting of the OIC, a science and technology policy framework for industrialisation, a centre of excellence in research for Muslim scholars in Malaysia, technology management, innovation and commercialisation, including science and technology venture capitals in Muslim countries.
The conference aims to strengthen Muslim countries’ capacity in building science and technology for industrial and economic development.
The opening address will be given by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
One of the keynote speakers is Nobel Prize winner Professor Ahmaed H. Zewail from the California Institute of Technology, who will present his paper on “Science and technology in the 21st century.”
As Malaysians, we should be proud the world has now recognised Malaysia's ability to host important meetings.
Our achievement has been highlighted after organising the Non-Aligned Movement meeting.
It is not important how grand Malaysia can organise the meeting.
What is more important is to observe the interaction among the participants, among whom are local scientists, academicians and those involved in related fields.
Hopefully, the foreign and local scientists can network to collaborate on researches.
While we face the challenges of globalisation, new species of tropical rain forests are being taken out of Malaysia to foreign countries.
According to Prof Dr Zaidi Mohd Isa, the former co-ordinator of the Centre for Insects and Systematics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, all these new species are taken to the Natural History Museum in London because Malaysia does not have a natural history museum on flora and fauna to preserve the specimens.
With such activities going on, all the data on our tropical rain forests will gradually be in their hands.
It would be more strategic if a natural history museum were built in Putrajaya.
Indirectly, the establishment of this museum would have an impact on our tourism sector and seek the greatness of Allah.
Surah Al-Nahl, verses 77-79, of the Quran says: “To Allah belongs the mystery of the heavens and the earth. And the decision of judgment is as the twinkling of an eye, or even quicker. For Allah has power over all things.
“It is He who brought you forth from the womb of your mother when you knew nothing. And He gave hearing and sight and intelligence and affections. That you may give thanks to Allah.
“Do they not look at the birds, held poised in the midst of the air and the sky? Nothing holds them up but the power of Allah. Verily in these are signs for those who believe.”
To face the challenges of globalisation, the values of skilled people are important.
Their sense of work responsibility, patriotism and self-esteem must parallel their skills development.
To produce a society with good morality, its members should be actively involved in education and training.
From the economic stimulus package announced by the Government recently, RM600mil is allocated for training purposes.
Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said RM100mil would be used to train unemployed graduates and the rest would be placed in the Skills Development Fund.
Furthermore, under the Human Resource Development Act 1992, employers have to pay the Human Resource Development Fund a levy of one percent of the monthly wages of their workers.
The upgrading of workers’ skills will lead to increased productivity in tandem with the nation’s efforts to attain the status of an industrialised economy by the year 2020.
To attain developed nation status, we need to also develop and modify human behaviour.
Therefore, our budget should also include values training.
The biggest problems are not that we do not know about quality and productivity.
Our biggest problems are that we do not practise what we already know.
It is important that Muslim workers are exposed to an education that predominantly teaches values such as working in groups, showing respect for each other and being caring, forgiving and truthful.
According to Crowley and Derezotes (1994), human behaviours are based on cultural and geographical limitations as they emerge over time to address the needs of the people of different social contexts.
In their Journal of Social Work Education article, “Transpersonal Psychology and Social Work Education,” they also emphasise the need for motivation and a psychological approach that will serve the spiritual needs of man.
In Islam, the spiritual approach in behaviour modification is based on the relationship between man and Allah.
This entails an operational paradigm in which iman (faith) in Allah is the focal point.
The Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia (Ikim) realises the importance of human values and has formed the Consultation and Training Centre to provide training.
The modules are designed for people from various backgrounds, such as corporate staff, executives, businessmen, researchers, factory workers, housewives and students.