Published: Tuesday March 12, 2013 MYT 12:30:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday March 12, 2013 MYT 12:40:55 PM
Act fast to patent products from natural resources, MSPC tells Government
By ISABELLE LAI
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia must take quick action to patent products derived from natural resources before foreigners do so, said the Malaysian Service Providers Confederation (MSPC).
Its immediate past president Datuk Zakaria Hashim said the Government must prevent "economic colonisation" at all costs.
"We have to be jealous of our assets and our rights. Once we find a product useful, we have to patent it immediately," he told The Star during the Seminar on Liberalisation of Forestry and Environmental Services in Malaysia organised by MSPC and the Institute of Foresters Malaysia (IRIM) here on Tuesday.
Zakaria pointed out that there were countries, which had fallen prey due to failure to act fast. He cited India's famous Basmati rice as an example, which he said had been patented by Americans.
"So India cannot export their first-grade rice to America. This is the same with our buah noni, the Americans patented it, too.
"If we don't control our natural heritage, foreigners will come swarming in, especially multinational pharmaceutical companies," he warned.
Zakaria said there were some countries whose businesses were now virtually 100% foreign-owned at the expense of their future generations.
"The danger of economic colonisation is always there. From colonial masters to economic masters, that's the problem faced by some countries now," he said.
Zakaria urged for the creation of a taskforce involving researchers, professionals and administrators, so the Government could continuously discover new products from biological resources and patent them quickly.
He welcomed the new Access to Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Bill by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, which will be tabled this year.
The Bill aims to ensure local resources, which are bioprospected and commercialised, will provide returns to Malaysia.