Efforts To Enhance Innovation Should Not Neglect The Grassroots, Says Najib

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PUTRAJAYA, Feb 28 (Bernama) — Efforts to improve the living standards of the people at the grassroots level should not be neglected in the efforts to generate wealth through commercialisation and innovations, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

The Prime Minister said innovations should be looked at in the context of efforts to eradicate poverty, improve public health, agricultural development and so on.

“This is also related to our aspiration to develop the rural areas based on a new model that suits the situation in the 21st century,” he said in his speech before chairing the National Innovations Council Meeting, here Tuesday

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations Datuk Fadillah Yusof.

Najib said that in this context, the role of science and technology was important to add value to innovative products that could be produced by the grassroots community.

Thus, the Prime Minister said the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations would present a working paper on grassroots innovation to look at ways of adopting best practices elsewhere which had proven to be successful in tackling the basic needs and requirements of the people.

With regard to the concern on the lack of interest in science and mathematics among students and the level of innovations that was still low especially in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Najib said that this would continue to be given emphasis and tackled aggressively.

He hoped that with the road map on human capital in the SMEs that was being developed, the Science, Technology and Innovations Policy and the Science Act that were being formulated could be ready by the end of the year.

“I believe this initiative can tackle critical issues such as the development of human capital, the small number of researchers, the poor development in science career, the modest investment in research and development (R&D) and the level of innovations that is still unsatisfactory,” he said.

As such, the Public Funds and Equity Investment Committee under the Malaysia Innovations Agency (AIM) had been given the mandate to improve the investment landscape and mechanism in R&D to ensure commensurate returns.

In the increasingly competitive global environment, the Prime Minister said it was imperative to balance development in fundamental research with market-driven research, probably with an initial target ratio of 50-50.

“In order to achieve this target, cooperation between the universities and research institutions and the industry must be intensified and enhanced in line with the requirement of the national innovations model,” he said.

In addition, Najib said it was important to balance development in science and technology with humanities social sciences in the national development agenda, to avoid any setback to the country.

“A holistic approach must be taken to ensure integration in the fields of science and technology with social science and humanities in order to churn out a balanced and sustainable population,” he said.

At the same time, Najib also welcomed the latest efforts to enable the country to achieve innovation shifts such as forging cooperation with the neighbouring countries at the Asean level, participation in the Antarctic Treaty, Coral Triangle Initiative and cooperation with world famous research institutions.

“It is hoped that the initiatives taken will contribute towards improving the country’s competitiveness. According to the projections and rankings, there has been an improvement but efforts must be intensified to ensure that the nation is in the forefront together with the developed nations in the world,” he said.

Source : Bernama

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