Malaysia gets the good oil through Sunway initiative
The Honourable Prime Minister Of Malaysia Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak launched Monash University Sunway campus’ 'MyMAP Accelerator' initiative to promote research and innovation into medicinal and aromatic plants for commercial purposes.
The MyMAP Accelerator is a tripartite collaboration between Monash University Sunway Campus (where the specialist development centre is located), the Special Innovation Unit (UNIK) under the Prime Minister’s Department, and the Indian Government’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The collaboration will enable the conservation of plants through sustainable farming and develop essential oils technology. In the short-term, the MyMAP Accelerator will examine some of the plant-based products developed by CSIR and the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, as well as their suitability for commercialisation.
The partnership will also result in new opportunities to produce revenue for the country.
Despite Malaysia’s rich ethnobotanical resources - it is estimated that Malaysian rainforests have over 1,200 types of vegetation including herbal and medicinal plants that have commercial value - more than 50 per cent of raw materials used in traditional medicine industries are being imported from neighbouring countries.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Robin Pollard represented Monash University Sunway campus at the signing ceremony, held at the Prime Minister’s Department in the government administrative capital of Putrajaya.
UNIK Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Dr Kamal Jit Singh said the initiative had numerous potential benefits.
“The MyMAP Accelerator is an ‘Innovation Accelerator’ developed by UNIK to promote collaboration between government, industry and academia to drive innovation for long-term sustainability and to identify commercialisation opportunities,” Dato’ Dr Kamal Jit Singh said.
Through the MyMAP Accelerator, project teams consisting of postgraduate students with skills in engineering, the sciences and other relevant technical know-how, will be guided by supervisors with industry or venture experience.
To kickstart the project, Monash University Sunway campus has allocated RM1 million.
“As a University, we teach students the values of tolerance and respect … Education is moving rapidly which is why we teach our students to embrace the latest technology, and to be flexible in the years ahead through encouraged disciplined courses,” Monash University Vice Chancellor Prof Ed Byrne said.
One of the long-term goals of the MyMAP Accelerator is to develop programs and strategies to overcome the problem of sustainability and quality.
Sustainable farming would enable entrepreneurs to tap into the essential oils industry, which is valued between $USD16 and $USD18 billion, while the market for “fine” essential oils is valued at $USD2 billion.