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Young business leaders seek to collaborate with the UMS
Published on: Monday, February 26, 2024
By: Mohd Izham Bin Hashim
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Young business leaders seek to collaborate with the UMS
James with Sybil members and UMS researchers.
Kota Kinabalu: Young Business and Industry Leaders from Sybil are seeking to form a partnership with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Institute of Biotechnology and Research to explore opportunities to create new industries in Sabah that are in line with the Governments economic development plans.

Led by its President, Ar James Wong Kein Peng, Sybil Food Security Taskforce Chair Datuk Jade Koh, and VP Safuan Gaphur, the entourage from the Sabah Young Business and Industry leaders Network (Sybil) met with UMS researchers and exchanged insights and ways to develop various industry sectors such as enhancing food security, agrifood, aquaculture, herbal planting, cosmetics industry, and skills training opportunities, among others.

“At Sybil, our goal is to identify research, innovative ideas and expertise that can generate new opportunities and commercial ventures for business owners in Sabah,” said James during the visit to the UMS Institute of Biotechnology and Research.

During the discussion, UMS researchers led by Dr Khairul Kamaruzaman and facilitated by Dr Kenneth Rodrigues presented their expertise, technology solutions, knowledge and identified diverse potential areas for project collaborations such as tissue culture, biofertilisers, biomass processing, aquaculture, biofuels, microalgae tech, workshops and training opportunities.

“Tissue culture is an example of the university’s vast areas of expertise which would immensely help farmers and agribusiness owners gain access to superior clones of disease-free plants produced in large numbers,” said UMS Associate Professor of Institute of Biotechnology Research, Dr Kenneth Rodrigues.

Furthermore, he noted tissue culture makes it possible to generate exact replicas of plants that exhibit desirable traits like vigorous growth, high yield, disease resistance and heat tolerance.

In another development, Sybil and UMS also explored ways to retain local talent by developing more direct employment opportunities for graduates with companies in partnership with the University.

Following suggestions from Sybil representatives, trained students would secure positions with top names in the industry, receive decent wages, and choose to work locally with UMS.

In addition, UMS also received a suggestion to broaden the selection of available courses, which could involve offering more diploma-level programmes, skills training courses and even certificate level workshops for the community.

This approach would not only improve access to education and skills training, but also enable companies to have access to a larger pool of skilled workers that meet the needs of industry. 

James said Sybil aims to spur the creation of various industries, while bolstering existing economic sectors such as agriculture and food production, which is in line with the state government’s development agenda, and creating more job opportunities for Sabahans in diverse fields.

“Working with the Governments economic development agenda by enhancing Sabah’s food security is among our main focus areas which underpins the need to improve productivity of chicken, eggs, fruit and vegetables as well as other fresh produce,” he added.

Additionally, James said Sybil is also looking to develop and commercialise downstream local produce asides from manufacturing and processing for export markets.

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