Academy of Sciences (ASM) Malaysia called out for the Malaysian government to arrest the declining interest in Science and Technology (S&T) education by providing stronger financial support.
“The good news is that the Malaysia Education Blueprint is proposing new measures to arrest the decline, but this would require adequate budget support.”
“It would be extremely challenging for the nation to achieve the high income target with inclusiveness and sustainability, unless there is sufficient investment in S&T and innovation,” said Academy of Sciences Malaysia CEO Dr Ahmad Ibrahim in a New Straits Times column on Saturday.
Applauding the vision of government initiatives such as the re-envisioned National Science Research Council (NSRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOSTI)’s new Science Act, Ahmad noted, however, that such measures would be useless without financial backing.
“As often reiterated, NSRC would be helpless without the necessary back-up of resources. The Act will give it authority, but it needs legitimacy and capacity to effectively deliver,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmad noted that spending on R&D in Malaysia was less than 1% of GDP, far less than the percentage spent by other developed countries on the same thing, but acknowledged that investors needed an incentive to place their capital into Malaysian science.
“Arguably, investments in S&T require the necessary talents to drive them. Scientific talent is becoming rarer in the country as scientists are lured by lucrative offers elsewhere.
“This coupled with the declining enrolment in the science courses needs urgent address. We need to create better opportunities to attract the best minds to pursue science.”
“As the country moves to the next level of development, competition is getting tougher. We need to therefore inject new vigour in the country’s S&T. Hopefully, the 2013 Budget will be the beginning of better things for the country’s scientific fraternity,” he said.