KUALA LUMPUR — The government has approved 99 research, development, commercialisation, and innovation (R&D and C&I) projects and programmes worth RM5.6 billion to support the development of the innovation sector in Malaysia for 2021 and 2022 under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government would also intensify commercialisation and innovation efforts to create more industry-based products and solutions with high added value.
“For this purpose, all R&D and C&I activities will be aligned with national development priorities.
“Digitalisation, adoption of technology and innovation are important to achieve sustainable economic growth,” he said when opening the Malaysia Innovates Conference 2022.
He said the commercialisation aspects would also be given emphasis by ensuring that at least 50 per cent of the total R&D expenditure is for experimental development research.
The Prime Minister said three entities have been established to develop the innovation ecosystem, with the first being the Research Management Unit under the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department to coordinate and organise the national research strategy.
The second entity is the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation under the Technology Commercialisation Accelerator programme aimed at boosting commercialisation activities between academia and industry, he said.
Ismail Sabri said the third entity was the Malaysian Science Endowment under the purview of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Malaysian Academy of Sciences, which will create alternative funding for R&D and C&I through collaboration between industry and international bodies.
“The three entities need to work together to ensure that the results of R&D and C&I, as well as intellectual properties, become high value-added products and put Malaysia at par with advanced innovation-based countries such as South Korea, Switzerland and Singapore,” he said.
He explained that Malaysia’s R&D and C&I landscape was different from developed countries because almost 80 per cent of researchers in this country in 2018 were in higher education institutions, while 97.4 per cent of entrepreneurs came from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
Ismail Sabri said out of approximately 5,435 startup companies established from 2010 to 2020, only five per cent were technology-based.
“For the short- and medium-term approach, a collaboration between researchers and entrepreneurs needs to be implemented to increase local innovation.
“This is in line with the Malaysian Start-up Ecosystem Roadmap 2021-2030 or SUPER, which targets 5,000 start-up companies and five unicorn-class companies worth over USD$1 billion by 2025,” he said.
He said that so far Malaysia only has one company of unicorn status which is CARSOME Sdn Bhd.
Therefore, more incentives need to be provided to create more technology-based startup companies, including an open innovation ecosystem strategy to boost national innovation through the mobilisation of ideas from all parties involved, he said.
Ismail Sabri said that MOSTI and the Malaysian Academy of Sciences were developing the Malaysian Open Science Platform to intensify data sharing between researchers and industry, while the country’s priority areas of science, technology and innovation were also being coordinated under the 12th RM.
The two-day conference was a joint effort by EPU, Prime Minister’s Department and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).