Kuala Terengganu, 19 July 2012 –Malaysia’s involvement in Polar research particularly in the Antarctic will be boosted with the setting up of the Sultan Mizan Antarctic Research Foundation.
The Foundation was launched by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Terengganu, TuankuMizanZainalAbidinIbni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-MuktafiBillah Shahat Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) here today. His Majesty, in his royal address, also graciously accepted to become the foundation’s patron.
Also present at the launching were SultanahNurZahirah, YB Datuk Seri PanglimaDr. Maximus JohnityOngkili, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI); YAB Dato’ Seri Hj. Ahmad bin Said, MenteriBesar of Terengganu; State Assembly Speaker YB Dato’ TengkuPutera Bin TengkuAwang; YB DatukHjFadillahHjYusof, Deputy Minister of MOSTI;Datuk Haji MazlanNgah, Terengganu State Secretary; diplomats;senior MOSTI and state government officials; and members of UMT academia.
The establishment of the Foundation was decided by the Government in June 2012. The Foundation has been incorporated as a company with limited guarantee on July 18, 2012. The Government also approved a RM10 million launching grant and matching grant of up to RM500,000 a year for the Foundation to carry out its programmes and activities.
Among the main objectives of the Foundation are to source and manage sustainable funding for research grants, post graduate studies and fellowships in Polar research.
The idea to establish a foundation dedicated to Polar research was mooted by the XIII Yang Di-PertuanAgong during His Majesty’s special visit to the Antarctic continent from 20-23 November 2011.His visit to the South Pole is the first by a Muslim Head of State. The historic visit was organised by MOSTI, Academy of Sciences Malaysia and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, with support from the New Zealand Government.
The Royal visit to Antarctica was preceded by Malaysia’s accession to the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS)on 31 October 2011.Asa party to the ATS, Malaysia will now take part in the Antarctic governance process as well as intensify its scientific collaboration and cooperation with other parties. Thus the establishment of the Sultan Mizan Antarctica Research Foundation is timely as it will help to raise funds toward supporting Polar research through the Malaysian Antarctic Research Programme (MARP) as well as fulfil Malaysia’s obligation as an ATS member.
“The establishment of this Foundation clearly reflects the Malaysian government’scommitment and support to our endeavours on Polar research and also the development of global science in Malaysia,” Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili said.
This is the first foundation set up in Malaysia to specifically support Polar research activities.
The Minister however said that the government’s effort to boost Antarctic research by Malaysian scientists would be more successful when complemented by all parties and he thanked the Terengganu state government, UMT and UniversitiTeknologi Malaysia for pledging to contribute funds to the Foundation. The Terengganu state government has pledged RM2million,UniversitiTeknologi Malaysia RM100,000 and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu pledged to contribute RM50,000 to the Foundation.
He also urged other organisations, the private sector, state governments and individuals to contribute to the Foundation’s cause.
“Through this Foundation, we hope to enable more Malaysian researchers, including young scientists, to take part in Polar research especially in areas of global concern through R&D collaborations with other nations.
“Polar research is important and strategic because this is the platform for Malaysian scientists to internationalise our research and test our products in extreme conditions. Researches in these conditions have enabled us to explore the biodiversity of the extreme continents and apply it to our R&D development efforts,” he added.