KUALA LUMPUR: The Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry is allocating RM5.3mil until 2025 to upgrade the nuclear technology application facilities and laboratories of the Malaysian Nuclear Agency (Nuklear Malaysia) in an effort to address the country’s food security issues.
Its Minister Chang Lih Kang (pic) said the project, which started this year, seeks to improve food safety and security by increasing agro-food productivity through mutation breeding techniques.
“In addition, the stable isotope technique is used to determine the authenticity of the food and verify the origin of the product,” he said when winding up the debate for his ministry on the 12th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review at the Dewan Rakyat here on Tuesday (Sept 19).
Chang said that the Ministry, as the leader of the science, technology, and innovation (STI) agenda, also played a role in helping to further strengthen the country’s food security through the use of technology.
“The use of technology such as drones and robotics by local companies for the process of spraying fertiliser and planting trees can increase efficiency, thus reducing dependence on foreign labour.
“In addition, the Malaysia Commercialisation Year (MCY) initiative has increased the commercialisation of local research and innovation from universities, institutions and local research agencies, where 474 local research and development (R&D) products or technologies have been commercialised and marketed, generating RM540mil in sales revenue,” he said.
Chang said one of the outcomes of research on the agro-food sector done by agencies under the Ministry was the production of NMR 152 rice seeds by Nuklear Malaysia.
He said the seeds can produce up to 10 tonnes of rice per hectare, compared to around six tonnes using normal seeds.
“The production of NMR 152 seeds has also received various international recognitions, including the IAEA’s (International Atomic Energy Agency) Outstanding Achievement Award, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) on Mutation Breeding in 2021 and 2014, and the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) Award 2020,” he said.
In the meantime, Chang said his Ministry was preparing guidelines for the feasibility study of space launch technology to ensure that the proposed launch site meets all the requirements set by the government.
He said that the industry interested in establishing a launch site should submit a feasibility report based on the guidelines for government evaluation purposes.
“The government will hold engagement sessions with the local community if the study shows that the launch site is feasible,” he said. – BK