Malaysia’s PM Najib: Moving forward with innovation; Innovation is what drives progress and the potential for our nation to profit from it is huge

Friday January 4, 2013

Moving forward with innovation

By Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

Innovation is what drives progress and the potential for our nation to profit from it is huge.

IT is just four days into January, so I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Many people are probably trying to uphold the various New Year resolutions they have made. I know this is hard and I wish them every success in implementing their pledges. Over the years, I have learnt that the way to keep a resolution is to take it seriously, prioritise and dedicate time and effort to the task in hand.

The same is true of government policy. Things don’t just happen by themselves there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved in implementing reforms.

A key policy of our government is turning Malaysia into a nation focused on innovation you could call this my ongoing “resolution”.

Indeed, one of the focuses of this year’s Budget is “Inculcating Inno-vation, Increasing Productivity”.

You may well ask whether there are more immediate and tangible matters that the Government should be addressing. As in any country, we have problems and priorities that require focused attention and swift action. But we must also make time for longer-term goals and fostering an “innovative nation” is one of them.

Innovation is one of the driving forces behind a modern high-income economy. Coming up with new ideas and products and bringing them successfully to market not only makes our businesses more competitive, it also makes our economy stronger and more able to compete in the global marketplace.

The world is constantly seeking newer and better technologies.

In this new era of high tech and information-driven economies, we cannot underestimate the importance of cultivating a healthy mind-set geared towards generating fresh ideas and an economic and social environment that stimulates them. Innovation is what drives progress, and the potential for our nation to profit from it is huge.

This is why we have put in place initiatives to create an environment that supports innovators and entrepreneurs: for example, we have introduced new tax breaks for “angel investors” who put money into start-up companies, while the Intellectual Property Financing Fund helps young companies use their ideas as collateral for financing.

These policies are already making a tangible difference: this year, the Government launched several new products developed under the “Innovation Business Opportunities” programme, ranging from new diabetic foods to a rice cooker that automatically drains excess starch.

When it comes to innovation, Malaysia is doing well. But we must not be complacent. Encouraging innovation should be a moving target because we can always do better.

I am sure that, as I write this article, there are many budding ideas out there in the minds of the rakyat. If you have an idea you think has potential, share it with Agensi Inovasi Malaysia at I look forward to seeing what the next generation of innovators comes up with.

Najib Tun Razak’s, Prime Minister of Malaysia, commentary is part of the Ignite column series in support of innovation in Malaysia.

Wednesday February 6, 2013

SME Corp’s innovation target


It expects to award 1-innoCERT certifications to 50 SMEs

KUALA LUMPUR: SME Corp Malaysia is expecting 50 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be certified with the 1-Innovation Certification for Enterprise Rating and Transformation (1-InnoCERT) by year-end.

“The 1-InnoCERT is a certification programme adapted from the Korean Innobiz model. Its core functions are to identify, certify and recognise innovative SMEs through stringent and vigorous certification processes to enable SME Corp to provide more efficient assistance, customised to the needs of the SME,” its chairman Datuk Dr Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid said at the soft launch of the SME Innovation Award 2013 yesterday.

The programme was incepted in 2010 with 1-InnoCERT-qualified SMEs eligible to participate in the SME Innovation Award programme, which rewards the Top Most Innovative SME with RM1mil cash. The entry fee is RM5,000.

Companies will be evaluated based on their technological innovation, commercialisation and innovation management abilities as well as their technological innovation results. The certification also measures the rate at which local companies integrate innovation into their business practices.

SME Corp plans to organise five awareness workshops nationwide from now until the end of next month to guide interested SMEs on the application process.

The online assessment on 1-InnoCERT will close by end-March.

To date, 17 new applications have registered with the programme.

As at December 2012, 115 firms had received the 1-InnoCERT, with 46% of them being bumiputra firms.

SMEs certified under this programme will benefit from the Green Lane Policy, a government initiative to acknowledge the contribution of competitive and innovative local SMEs under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

The benefits include priority access to government procurement, financial facilities and tax incentives.

“The 1-InnoCERT programme complements one of the six high-impact programmes of the SME Masterplan designed to remove market barriers and provide targeted and tailored assistance to potential high-growth SMEs,” Mohamed said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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