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Research and Development

In order to remain competitive in the world economy, Malaysia needs to constantly generate and establishes new sources of growth. One of the measures is to increase the nation capability in the adoption and development of science and technology through R&D and innovation.

The Malaysian Government has put in place various incentives and grants towards encouraging companies in wide spectrum of industries to embark on R&D activities. Such industries include electrical and electronics, machinery and equipment, chemical, medical and aerospace. MIDA, as the principal investment promotion agency of the country, has approved a total of 7 R&D projects with investments worth RM266 million in 2016. These investments are expected to generate 687 high income jobs for Malaysians.

The country’s progress can be best seen in how it scored under the Pillar 12: Innovation of The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017. In the said report, Malaysia has moved up three notches from 25th place out of 148 countries in 2013-2014 to 22nd place in 2016-2017. The report also showed that the nation has improved in each of the criteria measured with a score of 4.7 out of 7 points.

Criteria 2013-2014 2016-2017
Rank Score Rank Score
Pillar 12 : Innovation 25 4.4 22 4.7
Capacity for Innovation 15 4.9 13 5.4
Quality of Scientific Research Institutions 27 4.9 23 5.3
Company Spending on R&D 17 4.6 8 5.2
University-Industry Collaboration in R&D 16 5.0 11 5.2
Government Procurement of Advanced Technology Products 4 4.8 3 5.0
Availability of Scientist and Engineers 19 4.9 7 5.3
Utility Patents Granted per Million Population 31 12.1 36 11.3


The Government continues to place emphasis on R&D as reflected in the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 (11th MP). The plan focusses on translating innovation to wealth through strengthening relational capital to foster stronger linkages, collaboration and trust among stakeholders. Stronger relational capital will improve coordination and enable the sharing and testing of ideas across multiple stakeholders and disciplines which will improve the national innovation ecosystem. This enables Malaysia to bring creative outputs to market and share the available resources. This is indeed in line with the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy aims for Malaysia to achieve Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) of at least 2.0 percent by 2020.

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Last Updated : Monday 18th September 2017