“BIOTECHNOLOGY IN MALAYSIA :
Cutting the Gordian Brain Drain Knot”
“Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter” (Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1 Scene 1. 45-47)
Pointing fingers at Big Pharma is a self-defeating method to say the least. Mahathir Mohamad’s statement is in fact a contradiction and at best severely misconceived in the light of past and current biotechnology blueprint undertaken by a former PM and the present PM of Malaysia.
Big Pharma are prime movers in generating real biotech industry in Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere in both developed and developing countries around the globe. This is reflected in the vast arrays of incentives provided by almost all governments. In Malaysia, the following are concrete actions undertaken by the government to advance biotechnology in Malaysia :-
- Establishment of Biotech Corp,
- Grant of ‘Bionexus’ status,
- Fundings by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI),
(http://www.biotechcorp.com.my/Pages/20091118_NationalInnovationCentreLaunching2010PM.aspx?AudienceId=4) and (http://www.biotechcorp.com.my)
A. Biotech Initiatives by
former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
To further strengthen these biotech initiatives, the government has also offered several tax-related biotech incentives for biotech activities performed in Malaysia.
During the former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s era, the government at the Malaysia Bio Industry Organization (MBio) 2006 meeting launched BioNexus initiative, provided a $150 million Malaysian Life Sciences Capital fund, established venture capital agencies, grant tax breaks and other tax-related incentives to attract the biotech business and capital ventures. These are real appetizers.
B. Biotech Initiatives under the current Prime Minister
Datuk Sri Najib’s Administration
PM Najib declared that‘…the government would set up a “powerhouse” biotechnology research centre to attract the best talents, especially Malaysian based overseas.’
The National Biotechnology Policy in fact calls for contribution of Big Pharma via local and foreign partnership to catapult -in the writer’s opinion-a Biotech Revolution in Malaysia or the New-Age Green Revolution in Malaysia.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s is therefore advised to appreciate past history of Malaysian biotech milestones and ongoing biotechnology initiatives by both the Abdullah and Najib’s administration before pointing his finger at the Big Pharma.
Jeong Chun phuoc
and an advocate in Strategic Environmental Intelligence(SEI)
He can be contacted at Jeongphu@yahoo.com