Minister: Scientists and researchers need higher pay

Dr Dzulkefly says he is worried that millennials today are not keen on learning basic science, which includes mathematics


BETTER remuneration packages for scientists and personnel in medical research would generate enough interest among the younger minds to join the field of medicine and sciences.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (picture) said the country also needs to highlight the achievements of more figures in the sector so that they could be emulated by the younger generation.

“That will directly impact on the younger minds who might decide on the career paths they would want to take in the future. There is a dwindling interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by millennials as reported lately, which is quite worrying.

“So, we fear that moving forward as a nation that thrives on technology, we may not be able to be at the comparative level with our peers globally,” he told reporters at the 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting of Malaysian Society of Pharmacology and Physiology (MSPP) 2019 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Dr Dzulkefly said he is worried that millennials today are not keen on learning basic science, which includes mathematics.

“Moving forward, we may not have enough of the human capital to be engaged as a nation that thrives in the field of life sciences, medicines and such.

“Therefore, all levels of education from primary, secondary and tertiary should be geared towards preparing the nation for the bigger challenge ahead,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry aims to position Malaysia as a hub for medical research and support efforts to enhance local research accomplishments, especially in frontier areas such as drug discovery.

In line with the direction, this year’s MSPP is targeted to focus on new frontiers in drug discovery, nano-therapeutics and drug delivery.

Dr Dzulkefly said the industry has also shifted towards complex and sophisticated artificial intelligence-driven drug discovery with high throughput screening driven by large pharmaceutical companies.

“We hope that researchers in basic medical sciences such as pharmacology and physiology will contribute significantly to the delivery of innovative health care services in the industry.

“The theme for this meeting, ‘Towards Innovative and Sustainable Research in Drug Discovery’, is aptly chosen as Malaysia moves forward to embrace current advancement in the exciting field of the molecular basis of disease and therapeutics,” he added.

He said another focus area of this meeting is the physiology and pharmacology in medical education and clinical practice.

“A deep understanding of these subject matters is vital for further integration into clinical practice.

“We are committed in ensuring that our medical and other allied health sciences graduate who will be of service to the country are of the highest quality having received the best education,” he said.

MSPP 2019 — which is organised by Universiti Malaya — is being held on July 15-16, 2019, at the Everly Hotel in Putrajaya with a total of 150 registered participants.