By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
Malaysia has received investments worth RM6.7 billion from 340 biotechnology firms to date.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (picture) said the realised investments were coordinated by Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corp, consisting of RM4.6 billion, or 69%, from foreign direct investment.
Between 2011-2015, the biotech industry has generated a total income of RM2.7 billion, while creating a total of 31,000 job opportunities, he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
“From 2016 to September 2017, there are 283 firms with the BioNexus status, which created a total of 10,665 jobs including 3,926 highly skilled workers,” he said.
Madius said this in response to a query from Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Irmohizam Ibrahim, who asked the government to state the impact of the biotech sector to the country.
Madius said the ministry’s long-term strategy includes to continue encouraging local companies’ involvement in the industry.
“We target to have 20 BioNexus companies to be recognised globally. Currently, there are 11 BioNexus companies which have gone international.
“These BioNexus companies have also become global leaders in strengthening the local biotech sector’s competitiveness and marketability,” the minister said.
BioNexus-status companies also recorded an average annual growth rate of 15% in terms of revenue generation from 2008 (RM382.8 million) to the first two quarters of 2016 to RM822.7 million.
One of the government’s major initiatives to attract investors to Malaysia is by offering a conducive environment for biotech firms to set up facilities based on bio-manufacturing and bio-industrial at Bio-XCell Malaysia in Nusajaya, Johor.
“Indian firm Biocon Ltd is one fine example of a foreign company which has fully operated in Bio-XCell since 2016,” he added.
Biocon has created over 600 employment opportunities through its development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products.
Madius also said the achievement of the Malaysian biotech sector has intensified with the Sabah government’s Palm Oil Industrial Cluster that was created in 2005.