Sarawak allocates RM190m to set up research centre for infectious diseases


THE Sarawak government has allocated RM190 million to set up a research centre for infectious diseases, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (picture)  today.

He said the establishment of the centre would commence next year at a site next to the Sarawak Heart Centre, here and also near the site for the new Sarawak Biodiversity Centre.

“These institutions will collaborate with us, especially on research on infectious and tropical diseases, and we believe this is very important in this part of the world,” he told reporters after launching the two-day International Conference on Innovative Sciences and Technologies for Research and Education (InnoSTRE) Special Edition 2020 at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) campus, here.

He said the centre, the first of its kind in the country to do research on tropical diseases, would collaborate with world-renowned institutions including Oxford University, Cambridge University and Imperial College, as well as local universities and scientists.

“We hope that with this collaboration, our pharmaceutical industry including those who are involved in medical research will come and work together with us,” he said

The conference, the 1st Global Summit on Viral-Immunology and Antiviral Therapy of COVID-19, is jointly organised by UiTM Sarawak, Anhui Medical University of China and Asia China Education and Culture (ACEC) Association.

Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari said: “I am a firm believer in the power of research and development (R&D), thus COVID-19 will not stop research from being carried out for it is only through research that solutions can be found in the fight against the pandemic.

“We have brilliant academics and industry experts from within and outside Malaysia, and their presence at this conference should augur well for our continuous effort to cooperate in the Asian region in seeking ways to contain COVID-19 by way of innovation in science and technology.”

He said the COVID-19 special edition conference was timely as a platform for local and international participants from both the academia and industry to present their knowledge and latest research findings.

“This event provides the opportunity for experts to highlight the most recent innovations and developments in science and technology, and to identify emerging and future areas of growth and collaboration in embracing the post-COVID-19 challenges.

“As for Sarawak, there are several areas where there are opportunities to grow in the post-COVID-19 era, among others, in innovation and digitalisation, food production and food security, forestry, and renewable and green energy,” he added.