Budget 2008 : Academics give thumbs-up for moves to encourage R&D

Academics give thumbs-up for moves to encourage R&D

REPRESENTATIVES from all four research universities – Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Uni-versiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Malaya (UM) – welcomed the move to have a portion of the RM12bil in funding to enhance research, development and commercialisation activities.

UKM deputy vice-chancellor (re-search and innovation) Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo said:

“At the moment, funding for research is desperately needed because what we have at present is good enough for research but not commercialisation and product development.”

He also lauded the proposal to give researchers an 80% royalty payment but added that it would be good if it were complemented with support for the promotion of re-search products “because if a product does not reach the global market, the figure earned by researchers will be small despite the increased royalty.”

To researcher Mohd Azam Osman, a USM lecturer and programme chairman (Computing Science) of the School of Computer Sciences, in-creased royalty meant better incentives.

Nation’s future: Students comparing notes at the Distead-Stamford College grounds. The 2008 Budget has put a lot of emphasis on developing human capital.

“In other words, it means if we work hard, we will get more,” he said.

UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha Raja Abdullah said he hoped increased funding would translate into research grants for all his lecturers by the end of the year, “especially the young ones.”

UM vice-chancellor Datuk Rafiah Salim also praised the proposal, saying it was an indication of the Government’s commitment towards enhancing research, development and commercialisation activities in research universities.

Meanwhile, Chin Poh Choo, 47, said the move to give tax relief of up to RM5,000 on education fees for all postgraduate studies was fantastic.

In terms of value, however, she said “while the RM5,000 will be quite significant for those pursuing their studies at public universities, it will be helpful but not significant for those pursuing foreign program-mes.”

Vice-president of the Taylor’s School Division, Chin recently completed her Master’s degree in Edu-cational Studies and will graduate on Sunday.

She also expressed hope that the relief would have a retrospective effect to enable postgraduates who completed their programmes earlier this year to benefit as well.

The relief was also lauded by Wawasan Open University vice-chancellor and chief executive

officer Prof Emeritus Tan Sri G. Dhana-rajan, who also said tax relief for lifelong learning should be extended to encompass all forms of learning such as short courses for the self-employed and senior citizens.

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