A FAREWELL NOTE: BIOECONOMY TO SERVE PUBLIC BENEFIT
YBhg Dato’ Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal
Writing the column for The Petri Dish was an endeavour that stretched out over three years, from the moment the idea was first proposed to me by my strategic team. I needed an avenue, a platform to word my views and thoughts relating to the Bioeconomy Corporation (then known as BiotechCorp) and the work we are doing.
Not that I am counting, but this 31st issue of Nazlee’s Notebook will be my final piece. Eventually, all good things must come to an end and it is time for a new leadership. Back then, I began my work by communicating the idea on why the organisation was originally incorporated under the National Biotechnology Policy (NBP) – to serve the public benefit. As a government development agency, when we serve the public benefit we succeed.
Part of the job as CEO of Bioeconomy Corporation, as I have discovered, is to ensure the profession maintains and builds trust with its many stakeholders. Being the key industry developer, the organisation has the utmost duty of advocating the use of bio-based solutions across all economic sectors – in agriculture, healthcare and industrial manufacturing. I thought that the Bioeconomy Transformation Programme (BTP) was rightly conceived in 2012, and timely. To lead the implementation of the BTP as one of the nation’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), and to develop its business model innovation requires a team of calibre managers who are both visionaries and pragmatic strategists with strong determination.
It is all about setting the direction right, employing the right strategy, and to assume leadership role in our efforts that will further strengthen the country and drive it forward into achieving a developed nation status. And it is all about continuous innovation that is a necessity in our development agenda to meet the ever-changing socio-economic expectations.
I mentioned the BTP is timely because the last few years in particular has witnessed the need to invigorate the nation’s economy, in times of global economic uncertainty. We also live in volatile period where things can go wrong elsewhere, but its domino effects, whether it is good or bad, will be felt by us. Take for example, the 2014’s steep fall in crude oil prices, and its subsequent impact on the economies on the Asia-Pacific region.
Major oil exporters, such as Malaysia, are able to seize the chance of low crude oil prices to explore on other opportunities. With lower cost of production, we can start looking at high technology bio-based manufacturing, supported by innovative research and development. We are able to re-adjust our policies and set strategic directions focusing on value-adding products and services and moving up industries value chain. To further boost and sustain new economic growth, industry and businesses adopting bio-based technologies is an important component for transforming into a vibrant sector of the bioeconomy. The Bioeconomy Corporation envisages a future where bio-based component becomes an important economic contributor alongside addressing socio-environmental challenges.
To achieve that, synergy is of utmost importance. Efforts are poured into every detail of our work, including to develop structured frameworks, working out the mechanism to be put in place and to embed the bio-based concept to key decision makers, stakeholders and across the masses. We have continued to support, monitor and coordinate inter-ministerial initiatives to drive the BTP; introduced clustering approach for Bioeconomy Malaysia with strong support from all Economic Corridors and with successful implementation to date.
But a key need has been to ensure that the thought compass – our way of thinking is pointed firmly in the right direction. Earlier I mentioned public benefit at the outset, therefore at all levels of the organisation, much has been done to serve the ‘rakyat’. High level engagement with public and private institutions, both local and international, the pro bono services and facilitation for attracting investment into the country, assisting bio-based companies to grow, strengthening the BioNexus brand and creating a commercialisation and marketing platform for locally produced bio-based products.
While we managed to reach out to wider stakeholders, job creation for the populace had remained a top priority. The Bioeconomy Corporation seeks to support as many aspiring entrepreneurs in many ways possible and key programmes to nurture these bioentrepreneurs are put forward, helping especially the young people to succeed.
Working with other bodies, we have also backed the development of rural farmers and communities, spearheading programmes that will elevate the household income of the lowest 40 per cent group (B40) to a higher level and increasing their skills as agro-preneurs. I need not elaborate in detail on how the Bioeconomy Community Development Programme (BCDP) works, in which I have done so many times in past columns. What is more important is for me to stress that the BCDP is reflective of the need for inclusivity, not only for BTP but in any national development agenda, and by being inclusive means growth and wealth can be distributed in a socially and economically equitable manner.
All these efforts are made possible due to the collective efforts, including from all members of the organisation and from our strategic partners. The most recent milestone we achieved is the rebranding of the organisation to the Bioeconomy Corporation. The announcement of the name change during BioMalaysia & Asia Pacific Bioeconomy 2016 officially transformed the corporate identity, along with a new logo and expanded roles that reflect the organisation’s position as the leading economic development agency that will spearhead the bio-based industry in Malaysia.
So where does this take us and how do we move forward from here on?
There are certainly a lot more to do and actions speak louder than words in areas where we need to improve. In the course of the five years serving as CEO, I believe the foundation for future works has been properly put in place, and it is my hope that the organisation will continue to do its every bit to ensure that its future directions and agendas will continue to meet the needs of society and to earn the trust and respect that the public puts in it.
As for myself, to finish on a good note, I sincerely express my gratitude to the Board, the management team, the executives and all staff. A huge thank you to all my colleagues. I appreciate the good work and support that has been extended over the years, and I wish the Bioeconomy Corporation every good wish for successful years to come.
Nazlee, signing out.