Kota Kinabalu, 19 February 2013 ~ Borneo’s premier biotechnology event, Bio-Borneo 2013, organised by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) and Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) in collaboration with the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA), was launched by the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah YB Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Yahya Hussin who represented Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman , at Kota Kinabalu’s Sutera Harbour Resort today.
Themed “Delivering the Borneo Bioeconomy Innovation”, the two-day event was also graced by the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok, MOSTI Deputy Minister Datuk Haji Fadillah Haji Yusof, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister / BiotechCorp Chairman YBhg. Prof Emeritus Dato’ Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Peter Phang En Yin, Deputy Secretary-General (Science) of Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Professor Datin Paduka Dr. Khadijah Mohd Yusoff, BiotechCorp CEO Dato’ Dr. Mohd Nazlee Kamal, CEO/President of Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakob Haji Johari. The inaugural BioBorneo was held in Sarawak last year.
In line with Government’s Economic Transformation Programme and National Biotechnology Policy, MOSTI launched the Bieoconomy Transformation Programme (BTP) during the Biotechnology Implementation Council Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister on October 30th 2012.
BTP will greatly impact and benefit Sabah by merging diverse bioeconomy initiatives that tap into the bountiful resources of this land. Such efforts will generate a dynamic bioeconomic movement as well as retain Sabah’s mega biodiversity heritage. Bio-Borneo 2013 focuses on the biotechnology development and innovation potentials of the East Malaysia states through trigger projects of the BTP.
There are 3 Entry Point Projects related to Sabah namely bio-based farm inputs, high value local bio ingredients and high value food varieties which consist of 6 BTP trigger projects that is expected to contribute RM1.18 billion to the total Gross National Income and total investment of RM2.95 billion in 2020. Another key high impact project in Sabah which will be included in the BTP is the fully integrated lobster aquaculture project by Darden International, a U.S.-based company with investment of RM1.92 billion for five years. Bio-Borneo 2013 also presents a great opportunity to identify more bioeconomy related projects through the Mini Bioeconomy Transformation Programme Workshop to be held on 21-22 February 2013.
Datuk Seri Panglima Maximus Johnity Ongkili in his welcoming remarks said, “Sabah possesses a vast potential in the biotechnology field. The biotechnology application process for genetic sources in Borneo offers remarkable potential for the process of wealth creation in Sabah. This could spur sources for new growth and for Malaysia to be a global biotechnology hub.
“The projects that are carried out by the Sabah Development Corridor, Palm Oil Industrial Clusters, Marine Integrated Cluster, Keningau Integrated Livestock Cluster, as well as Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct, are expected to give a value-added impact towards Sabah’s bioeconomy projects.”
He added that Bio-Borneo 2013 is part of the government’s transformation programme through the Bioeconomy initiative that also aims to enable all states to share in the nation’s successes and wealth.
On the collaborations, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Ongkili said, “The Government will solidify the collaborations with all agencies in Borneo in the biotechnology field and initiate several projects that involve bio-industrial, bio-Ag, and biomedical subsectors. The land of Borneo offers a conducive environment for investment through a rich agriculture and abundant source of biodiversity, valuable authentic ethnobiological knowledge, clean surroundings unaffected by pollution as well as a strategic geographical location.”
From the plenary sessions of Bio-Borneo 2013, participants and professionals will be able to delve into a broad spectrum of industry-related topics relating to bioeconomy covering the bioeconomy initiatives in SDC, bieoconomy in Sarawak, wealth creation, as well as through presentations on potential projects for Borneo. These include projects related to Organic Papaya, Edible Bird Nest, and Empurau.
SEDIA, MOSTI, BiotechCorp, Sarawak’s Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA), POIC Lahad Datu as well as Australia’s Southern Cross University are among the organizations that have contributed conference papers. Among the speakers who are industry leaders and innovators are Datuk Dr. Yaakub Johari(CEO cum President of SEDIA); Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot (CEO of RECODA), and MOSTI’s Professor Madya Dr. Azizah Abdul Hamid of MOSTI. Dato’ Dr. Mohd Nazlee Kamal will participate in the conference session and speak on ‘The Bioeconomy Transformation Programme (BTP) Agenda of Borneo’.
In conjunction with the event, a special programme, MyBiotech@School, is also held where school students are exposed and familiarised with the world of biotechnology through hands-on experiments, multimedia shows, demonstrations, and talks by industry experts. More than 700 secondary students from 11 schools are taking part in this interactive programme, which is a government initiative that catalyses creativity and innovation in support of modern science-based activities in schools.