Innovate The Nation Launch

Address by Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Limkokwing, 12 March 2013
12 March 2013

Yang Berhormat, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Dr Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad, Deputy Secretary General MOSTI, Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dr Aseh Che Mat, Chair of the University Council and President of Perbadanan Putrajaya, Dato’ Seri Zainal Rahim Bin Serman, Secretary General, Ministry of Human Resource, Dato’ Seri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary General, Ministry of Finance, Dr Mazlan Kamis, CEO of YIM, industry partners, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

To begin, may I extend a warm welcome to each and everyone. I know how hard it is to find time these days and I thank you for the time you have set aside for us.

Now, allow me to thank Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, whose Ministry is a major driving-force of change and innovation in the country, for his kind presence and the presentation he will be making in a while.

As we know, the Minister is a passionate advocate of inclusive or grassroot innovations. Largely because of him and his Ministry, much progress has been made in the building of awareness and the generation of innovations in recent years.

We are much encouraged that the Minister is here. His personal support for this public-private-partnership project means a lot to us, and will go a long way to ensure its success.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The rise of innovation to the top of the agenda of all advanced and advancing countries has resulted in a profound shift in the nature of global competition.

Economic advantage no longer depends on natural resources, cheap raw materials, trade of goods and services or giant factories.

Instead, creativity and innovation are now driving the new economy and re-invigorating the old economy.

Creativity and innovation now drive the fastest growing economies in the world, and reshaping the global economy.

Our Prime Minster is determined that Malaysia will not be left behind in the coming new world economy.

In a recent speech, he said and I quote: "To ensure inclusive development, the Government will continuously plan and implement programmes and initiatives centered on knowledge, creativity and innovation.

Towards becoming a high-income and developed nation by 2020, innovation will be further strengthened and made pervasive in all sectors and segments of society.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we know it, it is the innovation gap that sharply divides the world into rich and poor countries.

It is a divide between countries with the capacity to innovate and those simply with no or little capacity to do so.

Advanced countries, already the richest in the world, are pulling away to higher levels of innovation while countries in the developing world continue to struggle just to keep pace.

It is just common sense that to continue competing effectively in today’s global marketplace, we must work to transform this country to become one of the most creative and innovative nations on earth.

To ensure long-term success, we must build social and institutional ecosystems that will engineer innovative leadership at all levels in the country, and in all sectors of the economy.

In classrooms and boardrooms; in factories and fisheries, in urban centers and the rural heartland.

Whether it is grassroot or high-end innovation, enabling ecosystems must be in place, to pervasively encourage ground-breaking concepts and new directions.

We must be prepared to re-set our criteria to benchmark excellence, so as to ensure compatibility with future demands for innovation.

We must reduce the rigidity of compliance and conformity to encourage pervasive application of creativity in human capital development.

We must design and engineer an education system to fully develop the potential of our people, no matter where they are in the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks to new technology, in the near future, the blind will be able to see, the deaf will be able to hear, and the disabled will be able to drive and dive.

Advanced nations are aggressively increasing their innovation lead so as to widen their competitive lead.

With no exception, the world's most advanced economies have built empowering policies and enabling systems designed to fast-track development of future-focused education and cutting-edged innovation.

To effectively compete with these countries, Malaysia must transform to be an innovation-driven economy.

We are not short of talent, and the leadership to make it happen. We must first ensure that innovation is made prevalent in every sector of industry and every corner of the country.

The administration itself must embrace innovation pervasively to stay compatible and be able to inspire and facilitate innovation across all Ministries and agencies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In so many ways we have come a long way.

It is projected that by 2050, Malaysia will be the 21st largest economy in the world.

Malaysia is ranked 12th in the world for business friendliness as well as in biodiversity.

We are ranked 14th in global business competitiveness: the highest placing among developing economies in Asia.

And we are poised to overtake Hong Kong as the most preferred IPO destination in Asia.

We are ranked 14th in natural gas reserve and 28th in oil production.

Malaysia is placed 24th in trade enabling, 20th in global peace and standing as the 10th most friendly country in the world.

However, in creativity and innovation ranking, we have some work to do, and some distance to cover.

We are now ranked 32nd in the world according to Global Innovation Index in 2012.

While we are relatively strong in financial support and economic infrastructure, we need to make stronger and faster progress in other innovation imperatives.

In regulatory environment, we stand at 70th, in education we stand at 74th, in knowledge creation we stand at 65th and in creative output we are at 62nd.

Clearly, we need to charge up on creativity and loosen up on compliance and conformity. Clearly, we need to strengthen our enabling ecosystems.

We need to re-vamp or remove the rules and regulations that have become stumbling blocks.

We need to bring everyone from everywhere in the country onboard. We want everyone to be included, and everyone to feel included.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The private sector and the Government must team up to identify the outcomes we must achieve, and design the platforms that will build the human capital, cultural capital, social capital and institutional support essential to create this ecosystem.

Unless the public and private sectors work as one team, and share the same vision, transformation to a high-income economy by 2020 may not happen as quickly as we would like to envisage.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are very pleased the Innovation Minister is here to officiate the launch of the INOVASI NEGARA programme, which in itself is an innovative public-private-partnership initiative.

INOVASI NEGARA is an effort designed by the University, and driven jointly with Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia to reach the grassroots, right here in the most high-tech part of the country to everywhere else, including the rural heartland of the country.

The programme is estimated to cost some thirty million Ringgit annually to implement.

Its implementation will be carried out in five parts.

They are to connect, to enable, to empower, to reward and to up-scale.

To connect, we will be running a nationwide advocacy campaign to promote inclusive innovation.

To enable, we will be conducting workshops throughout the country to get as many people as possible to initiate on efforts aimed at creating innovative solutions. Acceleration centres will be set up to facilitate this endeavour.

To empower, we will be delivering training programmes to empower 10,000 young people annually. This will generate an enlarged base of young innovators throughout the country.

To encourage, we will be recognising 300 innovators annually across the country, from both urban and rural sectors, who have created innovative solutions worthy of recognition.

To facilitate upward mobility, we have set aside 100 scholarships for students to take up creativity-driven programmes in Design Innovation, Product Innovation, Creativity in Software Engineering, Digital Media and Business Innovation.

Going online and on mobile, we will be able to connect with some twenty-five million Malaysians, practically everyone we want to reach in the country.

With the guidance and unwavering support of MOSTI, the encouragement of MOSTI Minister, and the supportive leadership of the Prime Minister himself, I can see no reason not to fully attain the goals we have set out to achieve.

On that note, I thank you once again for your show of support by being here. We shall work on this together.