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TRANSFORMING LIVES: Science, technology instruments of social change

Datuk Seri Najib Razak with Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron (left) and Dr Chia Swee Ping at the Academy of Sciences Malaysia 2013 Conferment of Fellowship dinner in Kuala Lumpur last night. Pic by Mohd Yusni Ariffin

KUALA LUMPUR: PRIME MINISTER Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government is committed to developing the science and technology sectors, which are game-changers to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation.

He said the government would be unable to provide for the people unless it developed and sustained a strong technological and scientific base.

Science and technology, he said, were two powerful instruments of social change that could transform the lives of individuals, societies and nations.

“We need to reinvigorate science so that it is ready and able to generate new ideas that will create wealth and jobs for the people. We must transform our communities and individuals into become high-income earners. This would require science as a game-changer to uplift their income level.

“For example, smallholders operating oil palm and rubber estates are mostly low-income earners. How then do you transform them into high-income earners?

“This is an example of the challenges we face. I believe the only way we can find a solution to the challenges is through science, research and development, as well as innovation,” he said in his keynote address during the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) 2013 Conferment of Fellowship dinner here last night.

Present were Science adviser to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid; special adviser to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis and academy president Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali.

Dr Ahmad Tajuddin had earlier presented certificates to 35 recipients of the 2013 Top Research Scientists Malaysia.

Najib said like developed and developing countries, Malaysia had made a significant allocation to research and development.

He said over the past few years and this year’s budget, the government allocated RM600 million to research universities to undertake research and development programmes and initiatives.

“Our investment of 1.07 per cent of the gross domestic product is much lower than that spent by industrialised and developed nations but higher if we were to compare with other developing countries.”

He expressed concern about the ratio between arts and science in the education system.

“I am equally concerned that the ratio of Science and Arts is 30:70; a far cry from what is needed. We need to make the ratio 60:40 in favour of science. This is something we need to address urgently, otherwise it will undermine our long-term competitiveness.”

Najib conferred theoretical physicist Dr Chia Swee Ping and former Palm Oil Research Institute director-general Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron, the academy’s senior fellowship.

He conferred the academy’s fellowship on 19 other individuals.

Source : New Straits Times

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