“Funding is a real problem not just for us, but for the entire research and development (R&D) of the scientific community in the country,” says Professor Dr. Norazmi Mohd Nor.
“We have the necessary funding to execute current programmes and lectures, but to have more funds means more R&D."
Countries like Japan and South Korea spend three to four percent of their GDP in R&D. In Malaysia, we are hovering just above one percent
Current funding of the scientific fields in the country is well above the one billion ringgit mark. But according to Dr. Norazmi, that is still below par if benchmarked against other developed nations.
“Countries like Japan and South Korea spend three to four percent of their GDP in R&D. In Malaysia, we are hovering above one percent.This gives you an idea that more needs to be done in this field," he says.
Current funding of the scientific fields in the country is well above the one billion mark. But according to Dr. Norazmi, that is still below par if benchmarked against other developed nations.
“In countries like Japan and South Korea, these countries spend three or four percent of their GDP into R&D. In Malaysia, we are still at one percent or hovering just above this figure. This gives you an idea of what needs to be done more in this field,” he says.
Dr Norazmi also raises issues surrounding personalised medicine and health screenings including DNA testing which, he says, becoming a nor for middle class Malaysians.
“The thing about DNA testing, or any testing for that matter, is the comprehension of the risks involved that comes out of these tests,” he notes.
“You see, there are three types of testing; diagnostic testing, health screening, and risk identification testing. People must know that the risks is never absolute and therefore it never must be taken in isolation. If the tests says an individual has near-zero risk of contracting lung cancer for example, this does not mean that he or she can start smoking as much as he wants."
"Conversely, if an individual is determined to have a very high risk of contracting a certain type of cancer, this does not mean it is a death sentence, but merely an indication that the individual must come to terms with what he or she has, and perhaps adapt and change the lifestyle or diet to mitigate the risks present,” he continues.
“The fact remains, as countries progress and become more developed, more and more people want to do health screenings, be it DNA testing, blood, or any other types of testing. But it should be done with caution, and involves support and therapy to manage the necessary perceptions,” he says.
“I mean, if you go and get a HIV test, and the results come back positive. You can’t just send the patient back home and pretend as if everything is normal right?” he quips.
“That is what I mean by having the necessary support and consultation that surrounds these types of tests,”.