By Mohd Nasir Md Ibrahim,Norhasrizam Hashim and Ida Semurni Abdullah
The implementation of various national initiatives ensures that Malaysia forges ahead in our goal to become a developed nation by 2020.
However, in order to have sustainable growth beyond 2020 and stay ahead of her economic competitors, and to ensure that the efforts made through these initiatives are not laid to waste will take continued focus and investment in science and technology (S&T).
To reflect this emphasis in S&T, the Malaysian government will now be embarking on a Science to Action (S2A) Program. The S2A is an effort that will enable Malaysia to sustain its growth beyond 2020.
Complementary and Supportive
The Malaysian government has already created programs which place respective priority to propel the economy. S&T will be complementing the existing and future development plans with S2A Program forming the critical piece of the puzzle.
The emphasis and focus of S&T requires foresight and patience, which is the norm of developed nations that have put S&T as the cornerstone of their development. And, as in other countries, the emphasis and championing of S&T must come from the government.
Going beyond the NKEAs
S&T will provide a multiplying effect to the NKEAs (National Key Economic Areas), expanding the opportunities identified and help sustain them in the long term.
However, in envisioning the future, there are other considerations such as social and environmental impacts, safety and security of the country that need to be taken into account. These are areas that need to be addressed due to its strategic nature for national development; areas that touch the lives of the people.
Inclusive, Not Exclusive
The S2A is developed to be inclusive, and not exclusive, in nature.
Although the applications of S&T has always been far reaching and benefit the society as a whole, it is still perceived as an exclusive domain of scientists and technocrats. Therefore, while acknowledging the continuing need for S&T in national security, health, and the economy, the challenges the country will face in the future require that S&T takes a centre stage in steering the balanced socio-economic development.
This role for S&T will take on increasing importance, particularly as Malaysia faces difficult decisions related to social, politics and environment.
WHY Science to Action Program?
Malaysia has been quite successful in capturing the benefits of the scientific and engineering enterprise, and has emerged as a leader amongst developing countries. Continued focus and investment in S&T will ensure Malaysia enjoys sustainable growth beyond 2020 and stay ahead of her economic competitors.
Malaysia’s S&T capabilities will provide confidence and optimism in her ability to manage the challenges ahead as well as solve issues and problems through application of technological solutions.
As a nation, Malaysia must continue to improve; and S&T is critical in driving this improvement. The emphasis and focus in S&T will enable the country to improve the lives, health, and sovereignty of her population.
1. Economic Competitiveness
A lot have been made by how technology serves as a catalyst for economic growth. Lesson learned from other developed countries is that Malaysia can ill afford to be complacent and risk be overtaken by her competitors. Jobs created under current initiatives could easily be lost if there is no necessary intervention to sustain it.
Initiatives under the S2A program will ensure that Malaysia develops and acquires the required S&T capacities and capabilities to remain competitive.
* Selected S&T sector contribution until 2020
2. Expanding Opportunities
S&T will enable the country to benefit, through expanding existing opportunities as well identifying new opportunities.
Globally, estimated potential economic impact of technologies will be up to USD 10 trillion annually; depending on types and applications. Therefore, it is imperative Malaysia partakes in this development or risk being unable to benefit from the technological developments.
S2A will ensure that Malaysia benefits from these technology developments potential.
3. Improving & Enhancing Lives
The prevalence of S&T in today’s society is remarkable. Transportation, communication, agriculture and medicine are some of the sectors of the society that have and will continuously profit from advances in technology.
This has enabled the population to also benefit from the progress made; thereby improving and enhancing their lives.
Correspondingly, S2A will enable continued emphasis in this area to ensure improved quality of life for the people.
Spent for the last 13 years:
4. Responding to Challenges
Malaysia continues to grow and develop in a world that has witnessed vast changes. However, she is facing new challenges such as new and lethal diseases; environmental and natural disasters; depleted natural resources; information and big data.
S&T capabilities will provide confidence and optimism on Malaysia’s ability to manage the challenges ahead, as well as solve issues and problems through application of technological solutions.
Again, S2A program will enable the country to develop the necessary competencies to respond to these challenges.
In addition, S2A would enable the delivery of the following government promises:
S2A Program is complementary, supporting the various existing initiatives that have already been undertaken by the government. It is formulated to ensure the nation maximize its potential by realizing the use of S&T.
To realize these potentials, the S2A will be implemented via the following strategies:-
Strengthening of S&T Governance
Expanding beyond scientists and technocrats
Focusing on few targeted areas
Driving the role of private sector in S&T development.
To deliver the government’s promise, S2A is organized into the following framework:
- Science for Industry
With the objective of strengthening current industries, creating new industries and entrepreneurs through identification of new growth areas as well as to increase private sector participation in S&T development;
- Science for Well Being
Improve the quality of lives of the population through the use of S&T. This will include popularization of science and improvement on the uptake STEM;
- Science for Governance
Strengthen the public services and governance to ensure a conducive eco system for the development and uptake of S&T.
Highlights S2A Program for 2014
- Initiatives geared towards creating sustainability of strategic resources. To enable Malaysia’s energy security, water security & food security
- Initiatives to protect & conserve the nations natural resources as well as leverage on Malaysia’s Bio Diversity as an economic source
- Inculturization of science as well as Career in Science initiatives to ensure the nation have sufficient science & technology expertise & workforce
- Technical & up-skilling program for youths that does not qualify for IHL/University; involving up to 100 thousand youths nationwide
- Industry development program via Public Private Partnership in selected technology sector. Driven by the Private sector utilizing 60:40 model
- Creation of technology startups entrepreneurs under the guidance of GSIAC
- Review of Government Technology Acquisition to enable the growth of local technology companies