Wednesday, 3rd October, 2001

Johor To Focus On Bio-Tech For AFTA

Johor Baharu: Johor will focus on new areas in the industrial sector particularly those based on bio-technology in its preparation to face global market competition when the Asean Free Trade (AFTA) comes into force in 2003.

State Executive Councillor for Industrial Development Mohd Salikon Sarpin said the state, blessed with rich natural resources, would venture into the viable field to meet the needs of the 513 million consumers in the 10 Asean countries.

“What we need now is a foreign joint-venture partner either from Japan, Germany or other European countries having the capacity to produce high quality products,” he told reporters after opening a workshop titled “AFTA’s Impact on Malaysia’s Trade and Economy,” here Tuesday.

Some 200 participants attended the one-day workshop jointly organised by the Sports and Welfare Council of the Johor Customs and MIT Advisory and Training Centre Sdn Bhd.

Salikon said Johor had explored into the herbal-based bio-technology like spices and would expand it to other products such as perfume and cosmetics.

He said the state government had met middlemen who introduced several foreign companies including from Germany with expertise in bio-technology.

“We will hold discussions to find a joint-venture partner from Germany for our local companies,” he said.

In his speech, Salikon said the state government encouraged more such seminars and workshop be held in every district to boost awareness on the roles and functions of AFTA.

He said non-government organisations (NGO) could cooperate with government and private sector agencies to organise such workshop so that the objectives of setting up AFTA could be fully understood.