Sarawak has Potential to be ‘Innovation Lab’ for New Ideas
MELBOURNE: Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said here today that he would like Sarawak to be an “innovation lab” in the region of South East Asia that will explore and come up with new ideas and develop new ways of doing things.
He said this in his speech to thank Swinburne University in conjunction with his study visit to the university at its campus here this morning.
“This is my personal ambition for Sarawak,” said the Chief Minister who is currently leading a delegation of state government and university officials on a weeklong study tour of Melbourne and Tasmania.
Earlier, the Chief Minister witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state government and the university on the field of research and development in collaboration with the university’s branch campus and other local universities in Kuching.
The signing of the MOU was followed by briefings by officials of the university on current research projects of the university’s branch campus in Kuching, the way forward to creating a culture of innovation in the society, transport innovation and the development of digital technology.
Later, the chief minister and members of his delegation were taken on a guided tour of the “Factory of the Future” facility at the campus that showcases digital and technological innovation to create an autonomous factory environment.
Abang Johari said in view of the large oil palm development in Sarawak, the collaborative effort should look at creating a machine that not only can pick and transport fresh fruit bunches (FFB) but also have the ability to determine the ripeness of FFB precisely.
He pointed out that if such a machine can be developed and made available to the industry it would not only cut the extensive labour needed, but at the same time reduce dependence on foreign labour and increase productivity.
He expressed his belief that such a machine has good market potential, particularly in the BIMP-EAGA area where oil palm is a major cash crop.
Abang Johari said he was impressed with research being carried out at the university on human DNA compositions that would lead to the identification of certain types of proteins that can be used to repair human DNA.
In view of this, he said Sarawak’s rich biodiversity might have a lot to offer in the effort to identify and produce the proteins required to repair diseased DNA and provide impetus to find an innovative treatment for cancer.
“The ideas might sound farfetched but its not impossible and can happen one day with technological advancements,” he said.