KJ: Pay more to scientists and researchers

08 Sep 2016 / 16:55 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pump up the salaries and resources for young scientists and researchers to create a rewarding career pathway.
Stressing this, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pix) said there should be more emphasis in this sector to boost young innovative capacities.
"One problem we are facing is that the career pathway for science and research is not rewarding for young people.
"There has rightly been emphasis on professions like accounting, law, engineering and medicine but we need to devote resources to create career pathways for young Malaysians who are interested in science and researches," he told reporters after opening the Kyoto-Asean Forum 2016.
Calling on the higher learning institutions and private sectors to look into this, Khairy said several government plans and programmes are underway and it is looking into higher investments in science and research.
In his keynote address, he said Malaysia's innovative capacities will move to a "downward cycle" if it continues to be forgotten.
"Malaysia spends about 1.13% of GDP on research and development and the salary of researchers remains in the lower bracket," Khairy said.
He noted that in Asean countries especially, R&D remains a low-paying industry despite being a key game-changer in determining our positon on the value chain.
Khairy said Asean countries have in the past three decades focused on fulfilling the demands of the west to create professionals in accounting, engineering and medical fields but have forgotten their own innovative capacities.
"According to Adecco, the world's largest staffing firm, a scientific clinical research manager with more than four years experience gets a maximum of RM7,000 per month, compared to an accountant at RM10,000 and front office bankers who can earn up to RM15,000 with similar experience.
"In Thailand, a research and development officer with five years work experience earns a maximum of 50,000 baht (RM5,800) while an accounting analyst earns up to 100,000 baht and electrical engineers can earn up to 140,000 baht.
"So we should pay our scientists and researchers more," he said.
"It is about time that we start to appreciate this career pathway in order for the brightest of our young generation to appreciate this even more," he said.


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