Malaysia eyes greentech to propel entry to rich countries club

May 18, 2011
Global Science and Innovation Advisory Committee for Malaysia, inaugeral meeting

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak met with the 35 members of the newly-formed Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) for Malaysia, which is comprised of leaders of economics, business, science and technology, each volunteering to help Malaysia up the development ladder - lighting a path to a green, high-income economy - at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) today.

GSIAC is a joint initiative between the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technologies (MIGHT) and NYAS towards supporting Malaysia's resolve to enter the world's exclusive club of "developed" countries by 2020.

To do so, Malaysia is banking on innovative science and technologies, especially those related to the environment, to help more than double per capita income from USD6,700 in 2009 to USD15,000 in just nine years.

Following the inaugural meeting, Najib told journalists that one of the programs discussed was a plan to carry out biomass projects using waste from the oil palm industry to produce electric power

Technology companies from the US, with the capacity to invest and produce products from oil palm biomass, will be matched with Malaysian companies to garner profits for the country, the world's largest producer of palm oil, Najib told journalists after the meeting.

The prime minister said that the move was among several measures drawn up at the meeting, adding that the feedstock from oil palm waste would also be used to produce other products such as sugar and even vaccines.

Najib said another proposal discussed was for the study of Smart City and Smart Village models with the co-operation of the academy which would look at finding suitable technologies for reducing carbon footprint and building more cost effective homes and buildings.

A further suggestion was also made at the meeting for collaboration between the institutions of higher education in Malaysia and specific parties in the US for the development of human capital.

Chaired by Najib, the council is comprised of 10 members from Malaysia, including Malaysia's Ambassador to the USA, Dato' SriJamaludin Jarjis, and four cabinet members, and well as 25 international members from China, India, Russia, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, the UK and the USA.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs, two Nobel laureates, and Rajendra K. Pachauri, head of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are among the international members.

Heading the Council Secretariat: Ellis Rubinstein, NYAS President and Chief Executive Officer, and Prof. Emeritus Dato' DrZakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to Prime Minister of Malaysia, and co-chair of MIGHT.

"By focusing on high-tech answers to universally-shared environmental and other challenges, Malaysia can do well by doing good," said Science Advisor Dr. Zakri.

"Simply put, a Green Economy involves all sectors of the economy and is characterized by low carbon emissions, highly efficient use of resources, and a healthy, well-educated populace."

The 10 sectors thought crucial to achieving a Green Economy are agriculture, construction, energy generation, fisheries, forestry, energy-efficient industry, tourism, transportation, waste management and water supply.