In order to achieve the country’s aspiration to become a developed nation by 2020, Malaysians need to bolster the culture of science innovation.

Science innovation, particularly in economy, has to be viewed in the broader context, according to former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

During the Science and the Economy: Changes for Malaysia conference, Rafidah said, “Science permeats through all levels of the economy and society including health, well-being, human resource, technology, manufacturing and civil service. Science in economy is very crucial for Malaysia as we are going to the third stage of development which is the innovation driven stage and it is essentially about science.”

Malaysia’s ranking improved one slot to 32nd out of 141 countries in 2012, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII).

Rafidah earlier said scientific thinking is an important element that the workforce should adopt because science can add value to the economy as the workforce is the main driver for it.

She said the important pillars are education and training, adding that nurturing scientific thinking as early as possible in the education system is of utmost importance. “And, certainly within the education-value-chain and training-value-chain, we must ensure all this is put in place so that no one pillar of our social economic system is weak or too weak to uphold the burden of greater development or high levels of development,” added Rafidah.

She also said that Malaysians needed to focus on providing more avenues for innovation, foster innovative bureaucracy, create a strong impetus in research and development and improve innovative curiosity in order to drive the country to be a better nation.