KOTA SAMARAHAN, June 16 — Sarawak is taking a step further in dealing with infectious disease when the state government allocates RM200 million to build a research centre which would begin its construction this year.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today said the research centre would be of international stature and located adjacent to the Sarawak Heart Centre along the Kuching-Samarahan Corridor here.
“The development of the centre is to ensure outbreak preparedness and to spearhead the fight against future pandemics in Sarawak,” he told a press conference after conducting a visit to a COVID-19 vaccination centre (PPV) at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) campus here.
The Chief Minister announced the plan to build the centre on Nov 24 last year and was approved by the Sarawak Cabinet last February, where experts from Unimas as well as from other international institutes would be engaged in its development.
“It will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratories to allow research and development on BSL-3 infectious agents and subsequently product testing to ensure commercialisation of research and development output,” he said.
Abang Johari said the project would commence immediately in view of the urgency to have such a centre which is expected to be completed within three years and certain models from other medical research institutions, including those in Singapore, would be referred in its development.
He said the centre would also complement and collaborate with the Health Ministry in tackling infectious diseases in Sarawak and would bring together talents regionally and internationally.
“It is also to attract global biomedical companies to ensure Sarawak is prepared for future challenges, besides providing opportunities for talented Sarawakians to serve Sarawak and drive human capital development in biomedical sciences,” he added.