PAC visits Sarawak Biovalley Pilot Plant at Curtin MalaysiaPosted date:
Miri – 20 February 2023 – Members of the Sarawak Public Accounts Committee (PAC) led by PAC Chairman Razali Gapor recently visited the Sarawak Biovalley Pilot Plant (SBPP) situated at the Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) campus.
Completed in 2019 at a cost of RM60.6 million, the biotechnology research facility is owned by the Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC) and managed and operated by Curtin Biovalley Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of Curtin Malaysia.
The audit visit was carried out as part of the PAC’s duties to ensure that public money is spent prudently and projects meet the objectives set for them. It was also part of the PAC’s commitment to go to the field and visit at least one development project each year.
Hosting the visit was SRDC General Manager Ts. Dr. Peter Morin Nissom, Curtin Biovalley Sdn. Bhd. Director Associate Professor Ir. Pieter Willem Pottas, and the SBPP’s team of management staff and researchers.
“This project is in line with the National Biovalley Plan to meet our biotechnology needs. It has a high potential for developing products based on the biodiversity resources of Sarawak,” said Razali at the SBPP.
He said that while the audit found some weaknesses in the project’s initial stages, the committee members were satisfied with the long-term planning and 2022 achievements of the SBPP’s new management following a briefing and tour of the facility.
They also noted that several significant research projects were either underway or in the pipeline at the plant, including projects to produce animal feed from palm oil waste, extract protein from algae for injection into animal feed, and produce natural food flavourings and preservatives from indigenous plants.
Among the committee members were Batu Kitang assemblyman Ir. Lo Khere Chiang, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang, Serumbu assemblyman Miro Simuh, Meluan assemblyman Rolland Duat, Kabong assemblyman Mohd. Chee Kadir and PAC secretary Pele Peter Tinggom.
Designed to bridge lab-scale studies and commercial production in bio-economy, the SBPP provides the opportunity to capitalise on Sarawak’s rich potential in valuable products from indigenous plants and planted crops by harnessing the biosynthetic capabilities of microorganisms for products such as chemicals, inocula and biological control agents.
It allows researchers to scale up using industry-relevant processes and equipment and produce quantitative data to evaluate whether commercial production of such products will be justifiable against the investment needed for full-scale production.
The SBPP is available to industry for the development of new bio-based products and processes, providing high quality testing and development facilities in product analysis, product enhancement and quality assurance, as well as infrastructure and facilities for incubators. In addition to ultra-modern phyto-process and bioprocess floors, equipment at the SBPP is of a scale and type appropriate for assessing economic viability for commercial production.
Thus, the SBPP adds significance to the research carried out in Sarawak on its bio-resources in that it can proceed beyond lab and benchtop research to research and development that is more targeted towards making a real contribution to the bio-economy.
For more information on the SBPP and Curtin Biovalley Sdn, Bhd., visit biovalley.curtin.edu.my, call +60 85 628356 / 528342, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.