28/03/2004

Dr Max named minister in PM's Department

Dr Max named minister in PM's Department

KOTA KINABALU March 27 - Better known as "Dr Max" among his peers, colleagues and constituents, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili is one of the six ministers in the Prime Minister's Department.

Prior to the dissolution of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly, Ongkili, who is Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deputy president, was the Science and Technology Adviser to the Chief Minister.

Ongkili, 50, entered politics during the PBS government era and made his debut in the State Legislative Assembly in 1994 when he contested and won in the then Langkon seat, defeating Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Newman Gaban by a 2,719-vote majority.

He contested in the Bandau parliamentary seat in the 1995 General Election, beating the then BN candidate Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan by a majority of 4,865 votes.

He won in the Tandek state seat and retained Bandau in the 1999 General Election. He defended and won both seats in the just-concluded general election.

The Bandau parliamentary seat has been renamed Kota Marudu.

Ongkili is the sole member from Sabah in the National IT Council chaired by Prime Minister.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture Science and a Ph.D in Agriculture Economics from La trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

He completed his Ph.D thesis in the economics of technology transfer in 1984.

Before making his debut in politics, he was the Executive Director of the Institute for Development Studies, Sabah's leading think-tank, and prior to that, he was an economics lecturer at Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM), now known as Universiti Putra Malaysia.

He also completed post-graduate programmes with the United Nations University in Tokyo and the Harvard Institute for International Development, Boston.

A member of the Society of Agricultural Scientists Sabah, Ongkili's continuing research interest include technology transfer, economics of the information and communication technology, environment and biotechnology, and poverty action programmes.

He is a researcher by background and also heads PBS' research and training bureau. He is married to Datin Joan Maluda and they have two children.