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Taking Malaysia forward: Legislate a Science Act

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KUALA LUMPUR: It is time for the government to enact a Science Act to govern the development of science, technology and innovation (STI) in Malaysia, said Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) acting chief executive officer Hazami Habib.

She stressed this matter at the NST-ASM Forum with the theme “Think, Share and Act” held on June 2 at the New Straits Times headquarters in Bangsar.

The title of her speech was “Malaysia 2050: Great Aspirations. How is the Science Outlook?”

The forum was held to create platform for national think tank and research institutes to come together and share their latest findings, analyses and trends to help stakeholders such as policy makers, ministries, relevant agencies, higher learning institutions, industry and corporate sectors and the media to make informed decisions that are pertinent for charting the way forward for a sustainable and prosperous nation.

She also listed out several ideas on how to improve STI governance in Malaysia which include:

  • Establishing a parliamentary select committee on STI.
  • Strengthening STI management cycle, especially on ideation, and monitoring and evaluation. 
  • Empower a centralised STI coordination and monitoring body.

“As for the centralised STI body, its reach should transcend all ministries and it should include greater participation from stakeholders,” she said.

On the international level, the ASM official said that the majority of the top 10 countries that produces the highest economic output have a stable STI governance structure to facilitate their growth.

Autonomous vehicles

Among the nations include South Korea, Israel, Japan and Taiwan.

“We also need a strong STI governance structure. While we are good on the advisory, planning and implementation part, Malaysia still lacks strength on the ideation part.

“In addition, we also need to work on our post-implementation process, which is monitoring and evaluation,” she said.

On the technology perspective, Malaysian Industry Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) senior vice president Rushdi Abdul Rahim said that Malaysia and the world would see the advent of more “disruptive technology” in their lives, so much so that technology would become part and parcel of human life. Disruptive technology is innovation that helps create a new market and value network which affects the flow of existing technologies, eventually displacing the latter from the market.

Rushdi said that among the game-changing technologies that would take place in the years to come would be the advent of driverless vehicles. “The autonomous or near-autonomous vehicles may account between USD100b to USD1.4 trillion in the world market.

“We may also see the advent of more efficient energy storing technologies due to rising demand. We are looking at a market worth between USD90b to USD635b,” he said.

Other speakers of the forum include Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) Senior Research Fellow and Head of Policy Studies Division Dr Shankaran Nambiar, Institute of Ethnic Studies’ (KITA) Ethnic and Workplace Cluster head Professor Dr Mansor Mohd Noor and Institute for Youth Research Malaysia (IYRES) chief executive officer, Dr Wasitah Hj. Mohd Yusof.

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