By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 25: The state government has set aside RM190 million to establish a Centre for Infectious Diseases with the purpose of advancing research, innovation and development especially on tropical diseases, which is expected to be completed by 2024.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in announcing this today, revealed that the research centre will be located in Samarahan near the Tropical and Peatsoil Research Centre.
“It is now in the planning stage and implementation is expected in 2021. We do hope that the facility will be completed in 2024.
“This will be the facility where our scientists can work together and collaborate with academia, the government as well as credible institutions throughout the world with capabilities in research and development like Cambridge and Oxford to do research, especially on tropical diseases.
“This is very important in this part of the world. In Malaysia, we are the first one to do that particularly on tropical diseases,” he highlighted when officiating at the 1st Global Summit on Viral-Immunology and Antiviral Therapy of Covid-19 at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Kota Samarahan Campus here today.
With such collaborations, Abang Johari hoped that the pharmaceutical industry including sectors involved in medical research can come and work together with the government.
“Of course, at the end of the day, we hope to perhaps get products or drugs which can control or mitigate the spread of new diseases. Covid-19 is one of them but we do not know what will happen in the future because of pollution and other environmental problems,” he pointed out.
It was also for this reason that the state government gave emphasis to sustainability, he added, one of which was in the forestry sector, including on ways to manage forests and research to preserve the green environment.
Among research taken seriously by the government, he continued, was the production of hydrogen as the state steered towards green technology based on renewable resources, notably as Sarawak has the advantage of abundant water resources.
“Environmental issues are one of the challenges faced by the world and we (Sarawak) are in the tropics. We have the facility and resources for us to do the research. I hope Sarawakian scientists can collaborate with international scientists to find a solution to this world problem (of pollution),” he said.
Meanwhile, the global summit was part of the Special Edition of International Conference on Innovative Sciences and Technologies for Research and Innovation (InnoSTRE).
It was organised jointly by UiTM Sarawak together with Anhui Medical University, China and Asia China Education and Culture (ACEC) Association.
The main objective of the hybrid conference was for local and international participants from both academia and various industries to share their knowledge and the latest research related to Covid-19.
The event also witnessed the launching of two research centres in UiTM Sarawak, namely the Halal Products Research Centre and Herbal and Ethnomedical Research Centre.
The Halal Products Research Centre is a collaboration between UiTM Sarawak, Beijing Wuzi University and ACEC Association, while the Herbal and Ethnomedical Research Centre is a collaboration between UiTM Sarawak, Anhui Medical University and ACEC Association.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong, Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang, UiTM Sarawak Rector Prof Datuk Dr Jamil Hamali and Consulate-General of The People’s Republic of China Cheng Guangzhong were among those present. — DayakDaily