By Ilangkumanan Kashaban
“Merdeka!” rang the voice of freedom as the father of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman declared Malaysia’s independence on 31st August 1957. It has been 58 years of independence since, and every year Merdeka Day is awaited by the nation to cherish moments of togetherness regardless of race, ethnicity and culture. Today, the country can stand tall in the eyes of the international business community due to its determination to become a knowledge-driven economy. Together, the R&D institutions, universities, government agencies and private sector in Malaysia have been working hard to spearhead this initiative, leading to increased rates of innovation and technology across the board.
Notably, Malaysia has shown high growth in the medical and healthcare industry. Several institutes in Malaysia have successfully obtained patents for numerous inventions in the fields of medical and healthcare science. In conjunction with our National Day, let’s take a look at some noteworthy ones:
Universiti Malaya (UM), the oldest and one of the most esteemed institutes in Malaysia, continuously upholds its fame as a leading public research university in Malaysia, filing the highest number of patent applications in 2014 with 162 applications. This year, they have received a number of granted patents in Malaysia, one of them being Malaysian Patent No. MY-154109-A, entitled “A haemostatic agent delivery system”. Haemostatis is a physiological response by our body to prevent and/or stop bleeding (haemorrhage). The invention relates to a device that delivers haemostatic material to the site of the haemorrhage in order to prevent and/or stop bleeding.
University Putra Malaysia (UPM) is another local institution that is active in R&D, filing 49 patent applications last year. The university recently obtained a granted patent for a “Method for detecting and identifying candida species”, Malaysian Patent No. MY-153642-A, which relates to a design and method used to detect and identify the Candida species, a genus of yeast and most common cause of fungal infections in humans.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), a research intensive university, has also contributed to the medical and healthcare field. Among their granted patents is Malaysian Patent No. MY-153035-A, entitled “A plant-based cancer chemopreventive agent”, which discloses the production of a cancer chemopreventive agent from a tropical plant, namely the Streblus species, that is capable of inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, particularly primary bone cancer cells and tongue cancer cells.
Apart from universities, agencies that conduct extensive research activities like the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) have also played a part in the development of the medical and healthcare industry. MPOB has several patents in this area, one of which is Malaysian Patent No. MY-154376-A, titled “A transdermal fluid”. The patent discloses a transdermal fluid used for the prevention or treatment of a cancer and/or a tumour in mammals. The patent further explains that the same can also be used for prevention or treatment of inflammatory disorders in mammals. The transdermal fluid comprises of tocotrienols or derivatives of tocotrienols extracted from palm oil, which have potent anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects associated with a decreased risk of cancer.
These are but a few examples of the results of R&D undertaken by our local institutions and agencies, made in Malaysia, by Malaysians, for the betterment of healthcare in the country (and the world). It makes me proud to be Malaysian, to see that such contributions of great impact to society are being made. One can only hope that enough is being done to ensure they realise their full potential. Once that is achieved, I strongly believe that these innovations will be an eye opener to the younger generations to challenge themselves intellectually for a better Malaysia and a better life. Happy Merdeka Day to all Malaysians.