KOTA SAMARAHAN, Nov 25 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg today announced the establishment of a research centre for infectious diseases under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
He said the state government has set aside RM190 million for the centre that will focus on tropical infectious diseases. Construction is expected to be completed by 2024.
“This will be a research centre where scientists can work and collaborate involving the state government and the academia from local and foreign institutions throughout the world that have credibility in term of research and development,” he said at the opening of an inaugural International Conference on Innovative Sciences and technologies for Research and Education at Universiti Teknologi Mara, Samarahan campus here.
“We do hope that the facility will be completed in 2024 and this will be the facility where our scientists can work together, identify source materials for us to develop.
“And of course, at the end of the day, we will get products or drugs that can mitigate the spread of new diseases, including the coronavirus.
“We do not know what we have in the future because of pollution and other environmental problems,” he said.
He told reporters later that the centre is meant for the state to collaborate and do research on infectious diseases, including the coronavirus.
“We have identified foreign research institutions, including University of Cambridge, Oxford University and Imperial College, to do research on tropical diseases,” he said.
“We believe this is very important in this part of the world and in Malaysia, we are the only one to set up the centre especially for tropical diseases,” he added.
He hoped that pharmaceutical companies, including those in medical research will collaborate with the state government.
Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said the research centre will be under his ministry.
He said priority has been given for the project, which will be built near the Sarawak Heart Centre.
He added that the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre will be relocated from Semenggok to the project site.