Huge opportunities for Korean companies to work with Sarawak on biodiversity projects

SBC Head of Research and Conservation Division Dr Melvin Gurnal (left) and Lee (middle) having a discussion at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre this morning.

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KUCHING, June 8: There will be huge opportunities for Korean companies to collaborate with Sarawak on biodiversity-related projects in the bioindustry sector, says Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Malaysia His Excellency Lee Chi Beom.

According to a press release by the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), Lee made this statement in his speech today during his official visit to SBC as part of his regional visit to Sarawak to explore new areas of cooperation, particularly in bioresearch and bioproduct development.

Lee was accompanied by the Minister Councillors Lee Kyoung Dock and Yoo Kwangyul, the embassy’s delegates, Korean Chamber of Commerce Malaysia chairman Baek Seung Ryul and his colleagues, as well as other key corporate associates of the embassy.

The delegates were welcomed by the Ministry of Education, Innovation, and Talent Development (MEITD) permanent secretary Datu Kameri Haji Affandi and SBC chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Yeo Tiong Chia.

SBC stated that during Lee’s speech, he emphasised the importance of developing countries collaborating with developed countries, particularly in terms of community engagement and benefit sharing.

“He also shared that they have learned valuable knowledge about biodiversity in Sarawak during the trip to Semenggoh,” SBC said.

SBC went on to say that during the visit, Lee and the delegates were briefed on SBC’s roles and functions to drive the growth of bioindustries in Sarawak.

“Lee also witnessed the proof-of-concept algae production facility at SBC that was used to inform the construction of a 5Ha facility at Sejingkat,” SBC added.

Furthermore, the tour around SBC highlights specific biodiversity discoveries that will be commercialised, as per SBC.

“Lee and the delegates were given insights and a framework for a project, the LitSara Access and Benefit Sharing project, which covered the projects’ initial establishments, community engagement, and the social impacts the projects had on the communities’ livelihood, skills, and knowledge,” it explained.

SBC disclosed that to commemorate the Ambassador’s visit, Lee planted a ‘Diospyros Cauliflora’ tree also known as ‘Surang Bai’ by the Bidayuh community of Sarawak.

“The Borneo native tree can grow up to 60 feet tall and produces bright yellow fruits.

“Some research has shown that the edible sweet fruit contains phytochemicals that exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer bioactivities,” SBC mentioned. — DayakDaily