Born and bred in Johor Bahru, Asman Shah Bin Abd Rahman holds a Bachelor of Economics and Law from University of Chiba, Japan. In 1995, he was appointed as the Assistant Director of Johor State Economic Planning Unit. Between the year of 2000 and 2004, Asman Shah served as the District Officer of Muar and Land Office of Kluang, Johor. Towards the end of 2004, he returned to the State Economic Planning Unit as the Principal Assistant Director. In 2007, he was transferred to Johor Biotechnology & Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech) as a General Manager which he served for 8 years. Prior to his appointment as the CEO of J-Biotech, he had the opportunity to contribute towards the development of Tourism Johor as the Director of the organisation. At J-Biotech, his priority is to develop a robust ecosystem and encourage high technology biotech investment, implementing the various developmental programmes and initiatives centring on Johor’s Bioeconomy key focus area such as Bio-Agri, Bio-Medical, Bio-Industry including Bio-Green and Bio New Frontiers.
Bio-SMEs initiatives started since 2015 and were built to facilitate and guide Johor Bio-SMEs to increase their competitiveness through addressing immediate business needs and directly contributing to their exponential growth. The objective of this programme is to enhance the capabilities of Bio-SMEs to compete domestically and internationally with the aim to place Bio-SMEs in the international market through effective marketing and branding programmes. Nevertheless, the participation of Bio-SMEs is to increase the involvement in international supply chain. J-Biotech will continue its initiatives to empower Bio-SMEs via selected training programmes and collaboration with agencies, organisations, companies and etc. Therefore, J-Biotech is also supporting their business to obtain facilitation and assistance from government, support agencies and the private sector to promote their businesses.
Is the market for biotechnology booming in Johor? Share some numbers with our readers
J-Biotech did not work alone to develop and transform Johor as one of the leading bio-economy hubs in the region with commitments also coming from the Federal and State Governments. As at 31st October 2017, Bio Desaru Sdn.Bhd (a subsidiary of J-Biotech) has managed to earn RM1.68 billion and Verdezyne Inc. (USA) has built the first commercial-scale renewable chemical manufacturing plant in Johor with total investment of RM250 million. Moreover, one of India’s largest biopharmaceutical companies, Biocon Ltd. has also invested in Johor bio-economy sectors with total investment of RM592 million for an insulin, monoclonal antibodies facility.
By 2020, the Malaysian Government envisions that the bio-economy sector will employ up to 160,000 workers nationwide, and contribute no less than 5% to the nation’s GDP and generate RM248 billion in revenue.
Tell us more about the Johor Bio Talent Development Centre (JBTDC)
The main objective of the Bio Talent programme is to develop national human capital resources at all level of studies related to bio that include school leavers, certificate holders, undergraduates, postgraduates and also reskilled and retrenched workers via a strategic relationship between J-Biotech, industries, institutions of higher learning and agencies for human capital development and technology-sharing initiatives.
This talent programme will facilitate to produce industry-ready talent pool that meets the requirements and specifications of the industry. Training talents will be based on the industries’ requirement and projections which is particularly in Johor. By doing so, JBTDC will act as a bridge between the industries and talents which will enable the state to achieve its aspiration as a national technology hub.
Besides that, J-Biotech does not only focus on the talents from undergraduate and post graduate students alone. The introduction of Rakan J-Biotech also helps to give exposure to bio-economy for students from primary and secondary schools which can be registered into these initiatives.
Share with us the facilities and services provided under the Research, Development and Innovation programme of J-Biotech
As the governing body, J-Biotech implements and coordinates activities as mapped and the main objective is to promote within the agro-biotech agencies, industry, academia and etc. As a priority, we support the growth of related projects from farm-to-table or waste-to-wealth.
At the same time, J-Biotech RD&I focus to offer Industrial RD&I services, laboratory analytical services, contract research and advisory which may act as consultants to the industry. On the other hand, J-Biotech also provides facilitation towards our clients with industry solution R&D for licensing / regulatory requirements and assist our clients in their product or service quality management by incorporating continuous monitoring in their supply chain.
How different is it for you to be heading a biotechnology state component in comparison to your past State Economic Planning background?
These two entities have different value to offer me mentally and spiritually. Both entities are strong in their own way and specialise in two very different fields and areas. During my time in the State of Economic Planning, my focus was narrowed down to planning and to facilitate the agencies. Even the team that I was leading back then was quite small compared to J-Biotech today. In UPEN, the pressure and responsibilities that I had carried was very different as I was accountable to the Director himself.
On the other hand, while serving in J-Biotech, I am obligated to J-Biotech board members that specialises in various fields and professionalism.
What is the future for Johor Biotechnology sector?
Given the promising progress of bio-economy in Johor, J-Biotech, with the support of the state government, is driving an exciting transformation agenda by employing and promoting innovative and high-end technologies, promote innovative collaboration between science and the industry, fostering new bio-economy public private partnerships and investing in the knowledge and training of resources to enhance the state’s competitive position as the southern biotechnology getaway for the country.
When Asman Shah is not busy with work, what does he do?
During my leisure time, this family man enjoys travelling and indulging in outdoor activities.