FRIM expected to be financially independent in 5 years: Wan Junaidi

KUALA LUMPUR: The Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) is expected to be self-sustaining in five years time through commercialising its products.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the leading tropical forestry research institution should have developed its own financial sources by then.

"Starting from now, the Finance Ministry has agreed to set up a new body to standardise products by FRIM, but it is not easy to do commercialisation although the law has paved the way for it.

"In five years time, I want FRIM to be completely independent and not depend on the government for funds.

"It should have developed its own financial source through its commercialisation of products - either through levy or royalties," he told reporters after officiating the Hari Raya Haji celebration at FRIM in Kepong, near here.

Wan Junaidi said the government has set up FRIM Incorporated on Aug 4 for this purpose under the FRIM Act 2016, which came into force October last year.

He said this is in line with the 2016-2025 National Policy On Biological Diversity, New Economic Model and National Biotechnology Policy.

He added that the government's bio-diversity policy calls for economic returns from Malaysia's bio-diversity.

"With the dynamics we have now, I am confident that FRIM can reach that target and progress well," he said.

Wan Junaidi said the government will also be ratifying the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilisation (ABS).

"We are already moving towards ratifying the Nagoya Protocol so that we can become a huge global community and exchange ideas yet preserving the richness of our bio-diversity," he said.

It was reported that France, Mali, the Netherlands, the Republic of Moldova, and Sweden are the latest countries to ratify the protocol in September last year.

In August, the Parliament passed the Access to Biological Resources and Benefits Sharing Bill (ABS) to give regulating access to the national biological resources.

Wan Junaidi had said that Malaysia had yet to ratify the Nagoya Protocol because the ABS law had to be formulated at the domestic level first and the items outlined in the protocol had to be complied with before considering to sign it.

He said it was important that the ABS law is enforced to ensure the country benefited from the utilisation of the national biological resources.