Public Perception of the Ethical Aspects of Golden Rice in Malaysia

By Latifah Amin, Noor Ayuni Ahmad Azlan, Jamil Ahmad and Rozita Ibrahim.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Consumer acceptance of modern biotechnology is driven by a number of inter-related factors such as knowledge level, moral acceptability and perceptions of benefits and risks of modern biotechnology and trust in institutions of interests. Of the many variables studied by earlier researchers, it was found that moral acceptability was an important predictor or sometimes referred to as ‘a veto’ of support for biotechnology. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Malaysian public in the Klang Valley region perceive the ethical aspects of Golden rice as an example of modern biotechnology product. Exploratory factor analysis has shown that ethical aspects of modern biotechnology comprised of five dimensions namely familiarity, perceived risks, denying benefits, religious and ethical acceptance. Results from the survey on 434 respondents has shown that the Malaysian public in the Klang Valley region were not very familiar with golden rice, perceived golden rice as having moderate risks and the benefits of golden rice to the society is perceived as moderately denied if it is not developed. The ethical aspects of golden rice were moderately acceptable to them and the transfer of carrot gene to rice was highly acceptable from their religious point of view. Analyses of Variances showed that familiarity, perceived risks, denying benefits and ethical acceptance significantly differed across stakeholders’ groups while the first dimension also significantly differed across age. On the other hand, no significant differences were found for all the dimensions across educational level, religion, races and gender.

Keywords: Perception, Malaysia, Stakeholders, Ethical Aspects, Modern Biotechnology, Golden Rice

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.15-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 836.185KB).

Dr. Latifah Amin

Associate Professor, Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Latifah Amin is an Associate Professor at the Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She holds a M.Sc in Molecular Genetics and PhD in Biotechnology and Society. Her main areas of research interests are public attitude/acceptance and ethical aspects of modern biotechnology. She has won several international and national awards related to innovation and best paper awards in Biotechnology and Society. Currently she is the project leader of the research university’s mega project titled ‘Societal Impact of Biotechnology Development in Malaysia’ and project leaders of several other projects financed by the Ministry of Education and the Research University Grants. Has also been the project leader of two completed projects financed by the Ministry of Health Malaysia related to Attitude towards Genetically Modified and currently involved in ten other projects related to Islamic Perspectives on Modern Biotechnology, environmental values and behavior and legal perspectives related to modern biotechnology. She has written and published more than 100 papers in international and national journals, books, book chapters and conference proceedings.

Noor Ayuni Ahmad Azlan

Post-graduate student, Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Post-graduate student in Bioethics

Jamil Ahmad

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Rozita Ibrahim

Lecturer, Centre of General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

A lecturer at the Centre of General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Research areas of interest: Gender & Identity, Malaysian Studies.