19-20 November 2014 – Medical Biotechnology students from International Medical University (IMU) accompanied by their lecturers, Wong Ying Pei, Dr Anna Ling, Dr Kok Yih Yih, Dr Kiruthiga Perumal and Dr Wong Chiew Yen, had the opportunity to attend the BioMalaysia and Bioeconomy Asia Pacific 2014 Conference and Exhibition held at University of Malaya Research Management and Innovation Complex, Kuala Lumpur. The event is the joint effort of Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). The theme for the event this year is “Partnership for Innovation, Investment and Growth for the Bio-Based Industry”. BioMalaysia and Bioeconomy Asia Pacific 2014 Conference and Exhibition is one of the biggest annual event for Malaysia’s biotechnology industry. The Prime Minister of Malaysia, YBhg Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak officiated the event. After delivering his speech, he visited the booths together with the officers from BiotechCorp. The annual conference and exhibition aims to discuss topics related to bioeconomy, bio-based industry, sustainable ecosystem, biopharmaceutical, advances in Aquaculture and to encourage partnerships with global players. The event’s highlight includes Biocareer, which is a platform for students and job seekers to explore the job opportunities available in the biotechnology field. There are free seminars, workshops and talks on careers. There was also an area where interviewers from various companies can interview participants for any open position. Many biotechnology companies also set up booths in this event and this gives the participants the chance to know more about the biotechnology companies in Malaysia. Among the many booths was the Bioeconomy; Community Development Programme booth. This is a joint project of MOSTI, BioEconomy Malaysia and BiotechCorp. The main goal of the project is to transform rural communities through bioeconomy. It is basically on how expanding the biotechnology based industrial development in a rural area could potentially boost the living standards of the occupants and also the economy in a whole. Another highlight of this event was BioShoppe, which is a concept store or a brand incubator to market BioNexus products and services. BioNexus is a special status awarded to qualified international and Malaysian biotechnology companies undertaking value-added biotechnology and/or life sciences activities. BioShoppe showcased pharmaceutical and health products, agriculture based products, dietary supplements, healthy drinks, bio-based fertilizers and fresh products.
Commenting on his experience at the event, a medical biotechnology student, Nicholas Kok Zi Zheng, said, “I was amazed that there were so many biotechnology companies offering jobs and internship to fresh graduates. Big companies such as Novartis, AJPharma, Veras Research, BioCare group, PureCircle, Microwell, Cambridge Herbal, InnoBio, BioSynTech and Agrovery were there to conduct interviews for students to apply for jobs and internship. This event also taught me that the development of biotechnology is progressing. Thus more jobs are available for biotechnology students.”
“It was a great experience that I finally got the opportunity to visit the BioMalaysia and Bioeconomy Asia Pacific 2014 Conference and Exhibition. This was the first time I attended a biotechnology related exhibition. There were so many career opportunities offered in Malaysia including job vacancies, internship placements and so on. There were many industrial-based companies providing internship placements including Biocon, BioXcell, Novartis, InnoBio and many more. Among all of the companies, I found that most of the companies are medical biotechnology-based,” said another student, Seow Yi Thern. At the event, one of the country’s famous actor-entrepreneur, YBhg Dato’ Rosyam Nor delivered his talk on entrepreneurship. He gave a talk about careers in conjunction with this event. He shared with the audience on how he achieved success in his life even though initially he failed his SPM examination. Through his speech, he gave some tips on how and what to do during the interview. He also encouraged the audience which consists mainly of future biotechnologists to take up the challenges in biotechnology arena, to think forward and plan for the future. Second year medical biotechnology student, Erna Binti Laere said, “From this visit, I become more enthusiastic to finish my studies in Medical Biotechnology. Right now my interest is more towards genetic engineering and I will do my best in my studies. At the same time, I will try to find a company that will allow me to do research in genetic engineering. However, I am still not very clear about my path after graduation as I am bonded to Public Service Department of Malaysia (JPA). I hope I will be able to join this type of activity in the future to gain more knowledge about career in biotechnology.”
“I had visited most of the booths in this events and this had opened my eyes to various biotechnology companies available in Malaysia such as Biocon, InQpharm, ASPN, Sengenics and many more. This experience helps me to identify the opportunities available for my internship. I had also talked to the person-in-charge of the Bio-Xcell booth and he had given me a lot of information on the biotechnology park located in Johor Bahru. Overall, this is an eye-opening and educational experience to me,” added Lim Jia Xin.
Navindi Sandalika Samaraweera said, “This exhibition gave an insight to what I may want to do in the future. Biotechnology itself is a very multiplex field and there are many things to choose from. Visits like this help us to narrow down our choices and show us what actually interests us. Getting to know about current and upcoming projects gives us the opportunity to learn new things. This visit was a great experience which allowed us to learn and experience new things.”