, , , , , , ,

In line with the National Biotechnology Policy (NPB), Malaysia is taking the opportunity in this growing market to accelerate the transformation of the country into a highly industrialised nation by year 2020. Likewise, with a third of its economy still dependant on agriculture and natural resources, Malaysia has since recognised that biotechnology will enhance the productivity of these sectors while creating new opportunities for the emergence of new industrial sectors. Leveraging on excellence and adaptable human capital, Malaysia will be able to be a world player in the field of biotechnology by the year 2020[1].

The objective of biotechnology development will be to harvest the potential as a growing source of wealth creation.

Malaysia’s biotechnology thrust began as early as in 1995, when the National Biotechnology Directorate was formed under the purview of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Back then, biotechnology was still in its infancy in Malaysia and not much consideration has been given to it.

A decade later, the sector was given the boost when then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi announced that it would be the engine for Malaysia’s economic growth and development.

Following the announcement, a rapid series of policies and decisions were made by the Government to support the industry.

First the National Biotechnology Policy was tabled in mid-2005, the National Biotechnology Division was established, and the Malaysia Biotechnology Corporation was then founded in May 2005, followed by BioNexus Malaysia in 2006.

The biotechnology sector’s contribution is expected to be approximately 2.5 % by 2010, 4.0% by 2015 and 5.0% by 2020.

It is estimated that the sector by 2020 has created 280,000 new jobs – both directly and indirectly.

In addition, it is expected that 100 biotechnology companies will be established in Malaysia over the next 15 years.

To underline the importance of the biotechnology sector as one of the key growth sectors that will stimulate the economy, the Malaysia Biotechnology Corporation said that the initiatives put forth by the Government has to be escalated.

This is to enable conventional sectors that will benefit the most from biotechnology investments such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and industrial to move up the value chain.

Therefore, this is actually the time to further strengthen the private-public sector partnership and scientific collaborations between Malaysian centres of excellence and global economies that could take Malaysia further in growing the biotechnology business when things turn around.

This has been specified in the second stimulus package that was announced in March by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

One of the biotechnology projects approved under the public-private partnership is the provision of infrastructure to develop a biotechnology cluster located within Iskandar Malaysia – Biotechnological Park Bio-XCell.

The investment support given to the biotechnology cluster in Iskandar Malaysia will help facilitate the increase of FDI inflows into the sector.

Biotechnological Park Bio-XCell is a purpose-built biotechnology ecosystem fulfils the need for a conducive physical platform to manifest Malaysia’s efforts in fast-tracking commercialization in the biotechnology industry.

Biotechnological Park Bio-XCell is owned and developed by Malaysian Bio-XCell Sdn Bhd., a joint venture company between BiotechCorp and UEM Land.

The park capitalizes on value propositions of both its shareholders in providing a conducive hard infrastructure for the biotechnology ecosystem combined with soft infrastructure that meets the needs of discerning global biotechnology players.

-SNASH-(this article written for 1BINA.my)

[1] Biotechology Industry Review : Malaysia; BioNet Asia Pacific; August 2008