Dr. Mohd Shuhaizam Mohd Zain
Chief Executive Officer
If I could define 2017 in one phrase, it would be ‘a rollercoaster ride’. This year has been full of thrills and spills, filled with notable moments that have shaped industries across the world including the bio-based industry in Malaysia. Personally, 2017 signifies a major period for me as it marks the first 100 days of my tenure as Bioeconomy Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer.
The bio-based industry is not entirely new to me, as I have been involved in the industry for over a decade. Filling the CEO’s shoes of this major economic development agency is a whole different ballgame, however. Everything is greater in number – there are more staff to oversee, more stakeholders to engage and more sectors to capture and evaluate. Despite that, I am relishing my new role in this company – it might be challenging and unpredictable at times but it is certainly never dull!
One of the reasons my work is interesting is because of the people who are involved in the industry, whether directly or indirectly. Over the last several months, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people from numerous backgrounds – from enterprising farmers and upcoming innovators, to influential policy makers and established entrepreneurs. I appreciate hearing their different perspectives and insights on the many challenges and opportunities we face as an industry. It shows that there are many sides to a story and that a single problem can be solved with more than just one solution.
Although the opinions of the people I met may differ, they all have one thing in common – to see the bio-based industry grow to greater heights so its positive impact can be felt by everyone in the country. I believe that working together and being open to each other’s ideas are the keys to success in any industry. Coordinating and connecting the parties together is imperative so we can come up with more integrated plans and strategies that effectively address issues and challenges in the bio-based industry.
Speaking of which, one of the challenges I’ve noticed during my first 100 days here is the lack of education and awareness of the bio-based industry in Malaysia. It may come as a surprise to most people but I think our country is not that far behind from other countries in terms of technology development. There are many bio-based innovations and technologies that are already in place here that are just waiting to be recognised, utilised and appreciated. With more understanding and enthusiasm from the public coupled with support from all the stakeholders, I believe our technologies can advance even further and reach out to more people to improve their lives.
Another observation that I’ve made during my time here is that Malaysia has so many promising bio-based technologies, products and services to offer. As we edge closer to 2020 – the final year of ‘Going Global’, the last phase of the National Biotechnology Policy (NBP) – there is a need to constantly push for commercialisation of local bio-based innovations and its penetration to the global markets. Progress is already underway – so far there are 283 BioNexus Status companies that are doing well in the local and international markets. Furthermore, Malaysia houses an abundance of valuable raw materials that are still largely untapped and would add value to the local industries. Initiatives like the Malaysia Commercialisation Year (MCY) by the Government supports our pursuit in unleashing the potential of the country’s bio-based industry because it has the capability to continuously grow and contribute significantly to our economy.
My 100 days in this job would not have been so filled with verve and exuberance without the support of the people who make Bioeconomy Corporation tick. I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to Ministry of Finance Malaysia (MOF), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia (MOSTI) as well as my colleagues and all the staff of Bioeconomy Corporation for their guidance and support. Moving forward, I believe we can steer Bioeconomy Corporation together to a path of success for the rakyat and the nation. Together, we can make the world see Malaysia as a household name in bioeconomy – a country that builds its economic success based on sustainability, inclusivity and innovation through the bio-based industry.