By: Chang Lih Kang, Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Malaysia
Let me put it plainly: We need stronger collective participation by key Ministries and large corporations to transform the trajectory of homegrown innovations so that Malaysians can all benefit from a technology-fortified future and to be resilient in the face of future-shocks.
From a macro socio-economic perspective, fueling the adoption of homegrown inventions is a key lever leading to job creation and value generation, in improving our global competitiveness while strengthening our capacities and reducing our dependence on foreign labour and technologies. Charges for the use of intellectual property or IP in Malaysia, for example, doubled from 2012, to a peak of almost RM1 billion (US$290 million)1 in 2021, making this our most significant accomplishment to date. Just the year before, Malaysia saw a record-breaking 8,500 technology patents obtain approval.
With this momentum on both the demand and supply of innovation, we have a target to translate these patents, amongst others, to commercialise 500 local products by 2025 under the Twelfth Malaysia Plan – all towards driving greater return on ideas (ROI).
As an example, MOSTI’s National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) has fast-tracked 24 products to market that have generated RM51.8 million2 in sales revenue. Through this and many other programmes, Malaysian local innovators have developed solutions including IOT-enabled medical devices to improve diagnostic health, augment efforts for disaster relief using drones, increase manufacturing outputs using robotic arms, solar-powered on-board electric vehicle chargers and a lot, lot more which are waiting to achieve economies of scale.
How do we shine a spotlight on these amazing tried and tested solutions and open up rooms for more real-life adoption?
In June, I announced efforts to stimulate higher demand for “invent in Malaysia” products through the Ministry of Finance backed MySTI programme. It will be the main directory and reference for innovations with IPs filed in Malaysia. Essentially, any company looking to list its innovations on the MySTI platform will need to submit its application, and upon a committee review and approval, will receive the MySTI certificate and logo. This stamp of assurance opens the door for future prospects, including for government and corporate procurement.
MySTI will also systematically and strategically elevate Malaysia’s reputation and competitive advantage in the global community, positioning us as a nation that values and protects intellectual property, thus encouraging foreign investment and partnerships.
More than programmes, we need collective action. I’d like to urge all my fellow colleagues in other ministries and government agencies to leverage the MySTI in taking national innovation to the next level.
Another key initiative that promoted homegrown innovations was the Malaysia Commercialisation Year (MCY) Summit 2023. There, we expected more than 60 companies, academia, and organisations to showcase their solutions to “innovation hunters” on 3-4 August at Connexion, Bangsar.
Malaysia spends more than RM150 billion (equivalent to almost one-fifth of the nation’s total GDP)3 annually in procuring goods, works and services. While this figure is commendable, it is slightly under-par against developed and emerging countries which spend more than 20% of GDP on public procurement.4
There is room for us to grow in this area and an opportunity to support locally-developed innovations that can be used to improve public service delivery, and to address pertinent societal and sectoral challenges. In Malaysia Madani, innovation is a key pillar for socio-economic progress and rejuvenation – and working with local innovators presents a good springboard to realise these ambitions. Local innovators have the advantage of being nimble, in addition to having better and deeper understanding of local context and requirements.
To all institutions of higher learning, corporate innovators, investors and SMEs, we invite you to join our long-term mission to also utilise demand-generation platforms such as MySTI, MCY and more, to strengthen your track record, and accelerate your growth.
I’d like to reiterate that MOSTI is committed to facilitating and supporting an inclusive, progressive environment for Malaysian innovators and inventors. With the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (NSTIP), spanning 2021 to 2030 guiding our actions, we are working to transform our industry and society, from technology users to technology developers.
With increased public and corporate sector buy-in and support towards “invent in Malaysia” goods, we will surely take national innovation to greater heights. No challenge is too great to overcome if we work on it together.