SPEECH BY
YB DATUK HAJI ABDUL RAHIM ISMAIL
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD INDUSTRY
FOR THE MOA SIGNING CEREMONY BETWEEN
UNIVERSITI MALAYSIA SABAH AND KOREAN
RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF BIOSCIENCE AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
ON
18 JANUARY 2005
(TUESDAY), 10.00 A.M.
AT GALLERY
UNIVERSITI MALAYSIA SABAH

 

The Vice Chancellor of UMS
Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Prof. Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Abu Hassan Othman

The President of the Korean Research Institute of
Bioscience and Biotechnology
Prof. Dr. Kyu-Hwan Yang

Deputy Vice Chancellors

Senior Management, Deans, Directors and Head of Departments UMS

Directors, Biotechnology Research Institute
Prof. Datin Dr. Ann Anton

Ladies dan gentlemen,

I take great pleasure in welcoming our guests from Korea to Sabah, the "Land Below The Wind". I am extremely happy that you have chosen Sabah dan Universiti Malaysia Sabah, in particular, to be your partner to collaborate in research.

I wish to congratulate UMS for taking the initiative to foster this research partnership with a world reknown research institution such as the Korean Research Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology or KRIBB. I am sure we in Sabah will benefit from this partnership.

I understand that this collaboration will focus on the topic of "Bioconversion of the palm kernel cake (PKC) into poultry feed". We are proud to say that Sabah is the leading grower of the oil palm in Malaysia, and Malaysia in total produces an annual quantity of more than 1.4 million tones of PKC as a by-product in the milling of palm kernel oil.

Studies on the characteristics and composition of PKC in Malaysia, including samples taken from Sabah and Sarawak, showed that PKC has a fairly high oil content averaging 10%, which makes it a good source of
metabolizable energy for feed uses. PKC is currently considered as a medium grade protein feed and is now well-entrenched as a major feed ingredient in the beef and dairy feed in this country. Korea, after EU,
is the 2nd largest importer of PKC and is followed closely by Singapore and Japan.

However, with the advent of new technologies, in particular biotechnology, PKC can be upgraded to a potential source of protein as feed for other animals besides ruminants.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sabah's economic development has always been traditionally linked to the use of natural resources. It is rightly so since the state is blessed with an abundance of marine and terrestrial resources. As a result of
this factor endowment, the agriculture sector, one of the strategic sectors emphasised in the Halatuju, has always been the backbone of Sabah's economy. The sector has contributed significantly to the state's income and is an important source of livelihood for the majority of our people.

The Eighth Malaysia Plan (8MP) (2001-2005), the Third National Agricultural Policy (NAP3) and the Second Sabah Agricultural Policy (SAP2) have underlined the need to transform the agricultural sector into a vibrant, competitive and resilient sector driven by science and technology to enable the sector to become one of the leading contributor to the state and national economy. This emphasis is expected to continue into the Ninth Malaysia Plan period. As we are aware, the SAP2 which was formulated in 1999 by the state government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry outlines the strategic direction of the agriculture sector up to the year 2010. The main objective of SAP2 is to transform the agriculture sector into a modern, efficient, sustainable, dynamic, commercially-oriented and competitive sector. Apart from giving emphasis on food crops, the policy also gives priority to the development of industrial crops such as oil palm, cocoa and rubber which have contributed significantly to the state's revenue as well as supplies raw material to our resource-based downstream industries. The State's Halatuju has further reinforced these policies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to say that the State Government is giving full support to Biotechnology initiatives in lieu of the availability of Sabah's vast natural resources. It is through the commercialization of Biotechnology
R&D outputs that I see Sabah at the forefront of capitalizing on this new technology of the 21st century. Malaysia's National Biotechnology Policy, which will be presented to the Cabinet soon, has an "economic
framework" as one of the policy thrusts. Among the objectives of this thrust is to focus on economically and commercially viable areas, such as the outcome of this collaborative project.

It may interest you to know that it is also the policy of the State Government to support and encourage activities such as this collaboration. The key industries expected to drive the bio-economy shall be pharmaceuticals, health care, agriculture and food. Most of the products we touch, wear and see are already produced, in one way or another, using biotechnology-derived reagents. The development of modern tools such as genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technology will transfer many processes and products to higher levels of productivity. The impact of biotechnology on industry is likely to increase over the
years and will spread from the farm to the manufacturing sector. Industrial biotechnology products such as enzymes, bio-pesticides, bio-fertilisers, bio-plastics, nutraceuticals and bio-fuels have already been widely applied to increase product quality, reduce waste and save energy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is through Biotechnology that the state can benefit from the commercialization of its R&D. Toward this end, UMS and in particular its center of excellence in biotechnology, the Biotechnology Research Institute, and its research capabilities provides the right environment to potentially new discoveries which can benefit the state.

Sabah's Government will do all things necessary to facilitate co-operations in this UMS-KRIBB collaboration so that we can benefit mutually and make this world a better place to live in. I hope that your collaborations and fellowship with our local scientists will help them to achieve excellence in their research and lead to advancements in the field of the Biotechnology, in particular.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to UMS for inviting me to witness this very meaningful MOA signing ceremony. I wish all the scientists from KRIBB and UMS who are involved in this project a very
productive and fruitful collaboration.

Thank you.