KUALA LUMPUR: The National Bioethics Council will address public concerns and ethical issues in scientific research and development as well as standardise ethical guidelines for industry players.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Sen Maximus Ongkili said with the establishment of the body, it will be the first time the government will address bioethics on a national level.
"As an advisory body, the council will have a more holistic scope as it has representation from not just academicians but also legal, cultural and religious organisations."It will standardise guidelines in the industry, vet research proposals, arbitrate where necessary and all in all, work to ensure research efforts are safe and acceptable to the Malaysian community," Ongkili said at a press conference after launching the council yesterday.
The council, which held its first meeting on Jan 5, comprises experts from various bioethicsrelated disciplines and representatives from related ministries and NGOs.
They include the Malaysian Bar and Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.
"Not many countries have such a council, and as we are seeking to become a high-income nation soon, the establishment of this council is a leap forward.
"Besides synchronisjng the industry, the council will hold public consultations and produce reports and recommendations so any public concerns regarding research can be properly addressed," Ongkili said.
He added the council’s performance would be measured by how involved it was in addressing public concerns, engaging members of the public and ensuring research was conducted safely.
"We are confident in this council; it is a pool of very distinguished people. We also want representatives from Sabah and Sarawak to be part of the council, as we move forward," he said.
Council’s inaugural chairman Prof Datuk Dr.
Mahani Mansor Clyde said the council has started prioritising issues of importance and forming sub-committees to produce reports and recommendations.
"We’re starting with animal testing for now, and not considering the Lynas issue for the moment," she said.
The government approved the establishment of the body in July 2010, and council members are appointed every two years.
Date: Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Resource: By Michelle Chun, The Sun, Page: 4