ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor will focus on developing bioeconomy as one of the key economy sectors for the state after receiving approved investment of RM1.37bil, said state Education, Information, Entrepreneurship Development and Cooperative executive chairman Md Jais Sarday.

He said that bioeconomy is growing rapidly where it uses nature as a source for food, agriculture, energy and fuel in industrial usage.

“As a whole, bioeconomy in Johor has successfully attracted investors in the biotechnology sector with a total approved investment amounting to RM670mil in 2015 and RM700mil more this year,” he said.

Md Jais said this in his reply to Abd Razak Minhat (BN-Serom) and Datuk Adam Sumiru (BN-Tanjung Puteri) at the state assembly sitting held at Bangunan Sultan Ismail here.

He added that the government is serious about bioeconomy, with plans to build a Johor Halal Park, a joint development project between J-Biotech and UMLand, within a 141ha land at Cahaya Baru in Pasir Gudang.

“The first phase is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2018 and be operational by the second quarter in the same year,” he said.

Md Jais said the park would play an important role in the biotechnology field, especially in policy management, service and factory management, manufacturing and processing of various products, logistic, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food.

He added that the park would also have a laboratory for product development and innovation, research lab, incubator development, and commercial halal lab which is a joint cooperation between Johor Islamic Religious Council (Maij) and J-Biotech.

“The government has introduced a programme dubbed the Bio Talent Johor for human development in bioeconomy field.

“In 2015, a total of 1, 813 individuals have been trained to feed the demands of 17 Johor based biotechnology companies whereas for this year, the number will increase to 2,000 people who would be absorbed by 20 companies,” he said.

Md Jais also said that J-Biotech has been encouraging participants of local small and medium (SME) players to get them involved in biotechnology by working closely with SMECorp.

“Our focus is to help SME that have weakness in business management, financial and marketing where J-Biotech will identify such made strategic planning in guiding them.

“Once Bio SME participants havegone all the programmes and training, J-Biotech will visit each of their premises to make sure they are able to benefit from it,” he said.

Source : The Star