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Enterprises urged to ramp up R&D, says Chang

October 21, 2023
The Star
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SUBANG: The government today urged multinational corporations (MNCs) and business enterprises to ramp up research and development (R&D) activities as their contribution to the Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) source of finance had been decreasing.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Chang Lih Kang said the contribution dropped from 60.2% in 2012 to 32.8% in 2020, while GERD for Malaysia stands at 0.92%for 2022, compared to the average for Upper Middle Income Nation at 1.73%.

He said that the government is fully aware of the funding gap and is actively developing a fundraising mechanism to establish the Malaysia Science Endowment (MSE), targeting to raise RM2 billion of endowment funds through a matching funding mechanism.

"We understand that this drop (GERD) was due to the Covid-19 pandemic and since the pandemic is over, we hope business enterprises can invest more in R&D activities because it not only helps enterprises but also the country to progress.

"The government showed strong commitment in R&D, where the increase for Mosti (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation) in Budget 2024 comes from development expenditure which includes RM95 million for R&D programmes, an increase from RM50 million for 2023,” he told reporters after launching the 2023 Multinational Corporation Leadership Summit here on Saturday (Oct 21).

Chang also pointed out that in total, RM510 million has been earmarked for R&D under Mosti and the Ministry of Higher Education in the recently announced budget.

He said the government has allocated RM76mil to strengthen the research, development, commercialisation and innovation (R&D&C&I) ecosystem with support provided to commercialise products developed by business enterprises, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and government agencies.

In addition, he said RM27mil has also been allocated to enhance the utilisation of products and services from local R&D through a programme called MySTI.

Touching on artificial intelligence (AI), Chang said Malaysia firmly believed that there is a need for a serious discourse on the regulatory aspects of AI, especially with the prevalence of Large Language Models (LLM) which is the backbone of AI chatbots such as ChatGPT.

"Ethical guidelines as a means of monitoring AI are vital to the healthy development of all AI-driven technologies. Some of the areas of AI Ethics include avoiding potential AI mistakes and bias, and the issue of privacy, among others,” he added.

The 2023 Multinational Corporation Leadership Summit organised by One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Economic Friendship Association, aims to foster collaboration between enterprises and promote diversification and steady progress. - Bernama