“All of our good talent is moving to Singapore” is one of the biggest complaints attributed to the slow progression of Malaysia’s tech ecosystem when confronted with neighboring SEA countries. Malaysia is able to produce a lot of good talent, but we are not retaining them very well.
To add, Malaysia’s innovation capabilities are also limited as 80% of local researchers prefer to secure more stable jobs in higher education institutions. That leaves only 16% of them in the private sector and 4% in the non-profit sector.
This was according to the CEO of Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), Dzuleira Abu Bakar. She compares these statistics to highly innovative countries like South Korea, where the figures are reversed with 82% of researchers working in the private sector.
Apart from that, Dzuleira also believes that the main problem stifling innovation in Malaysia is the mismanagement and low rates of commercialization of these ideas.
“Today our rate to market is quite low competitively, averaging 15-20% over the past two years,” Dzuleira told Vulcan Post. “And although there are marketing activities by the company and various institutions, they need to be centralized, if not aggregated for a multiplier effect.”
Thus, through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), a new agency is being formed to tackle all of the above under a single pole. It is known as the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI).
A one-stop shop for the development and commercialization of technologies
As a quick reminder, TPM and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC) have recently merged. This followed MOSTI’s intention to restructure its branches through consolidation to create a new functional technology and marketing agency.
It’s all in MOSTI’s plan to accelerate Malaysia’s transformation into an innovation-driven economy.
Therefore, MRANTI will be formed by the consolidation of TPM and MaGIC. Its shareholders imagine that MRANTI is the one-stop-shop for innovators and technology entrepreneurs to find all resources, funding, advice and commercialization facilities in Malaysia.
RM 30 million has been allocated to support its efforts
A month ago, the 2022 budget allocated 423 million ringgit to MOSTI and the Ministry of Higher Education for the acceleration of R&D activities. From the pool, TPM (soon to be MRANTI) received 30 million RM to support the innovation ecosystem in areas such as drones, robotics and autonomous vehicles (AV).
“We aim to impact 5,000 technopreneurs and develop 15 intellectual property (IP) by 2022 through infrastructure and facilities, coaching and mentoring, market access, as well as knowledge exchange,” said Dzuleira .
MRANTI is also planning to have an artificial intelligence (AI) park in Malaysia. Within it, various arrangements will be put in place to support its development. They include a 5G development center, a sustainable urban agriculture incubation facility, a biotechnology incubation center, as well as an AV and robotics center.
These facilities were chosen because they are interconnected. For example, the testing, incubation and development of autonomous vehicles goes hand in hand with the development of 5G technology.
AI Park will function to complement Area 57, a 5-acre R&D center by TPM to advance the development of local drone industries.
If his plan works as planned, the country will experience growth in science, technology, innovation and economy (STIE) and meet the targets set in Malaysia’s 12th plan (RMK12).
The main targets of RMK12 are:
- 2.5% of gross R&D expenditure (GERD) in relation to GDP;
- 70% of private sector R&D expenditure (EBRD) to GERD;
- Top 20 for rankings in the Global Innovation Index;
- 500 products or solutions marketed under the National Innovation and Technology Sandbox (NTIS) and the Year of Commercialization in Malaysia (MCY).
When will this happen?
MRANTI will begin operations in January 2022, facilitating startups with resources to support technology development, market access, prototyping and testing, funding, facilitation, and more.
“With MRANTI, we don’t want discoveries to be just discoveries. We take them out of the labs and bring them into real life to unleash more socio-economic value, ”Dzuleira said.
Ultimately, it’s about scaling entrepreneurs’ ideas and innovations efficiently, quickly and effectively.
Malaysia is already lagging behind in becoming a high-tech, high-income nation compared to international nations, let alone SEA countries.
Thanks to its collaborative approaches and ambitious goals, can MRANTI do more than just help the nation catch up? We and our Malaysian compatriots will look forward to watching.
- Learn more about MRANTI here.
- You can read more articles that we have written on MaGIC here.
Featured Image Credit: MRANTI
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