HOBART (10 June 2012): A three-member Malaysian delegation led by MOSTI’s Deputy Secretary General (Policy), Dato’ Dr. Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad attended the 35th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) which kicked off in the southernmost Australian city of Hobart.
The meeting is the first one attended by Malaysia since acceding to the Antarctic Treaty System in October 2011, and marks a new chapter in the country’s growing stature in Antarctic research. Other members of the delegation included Wan Ashbi Leman, Principal Assistant Secretary, International Division, MOSTI; Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim, Deputy High Commissioner to Australia; and Prof Dato’ Dr. Azizan Abu Samah, Academy of Sciences Malaysia.
ATCM Chair, Mr. Richard Rowe, from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, welcomed Malaysia and Pakistan as two of the latest member countries accepted into the system. The announcement was well received by Antarctic Consultative Parties including United States of America, Australia, France, Spain, and Chile.
Dato’ Dr Sharifah Zarah in her speech highlighted Malaysia’s significant role in Antarctic research since 1999. Malaysian scientists were among the very few from tropical countries that had made significant strides in polar research.
Malaysian scientific contribution was acknowledged when it was admitted as a full member of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research in 2008. Our scientists now sit on various scientific steering committees of SCAR that deliberate on the development and priorities of scientific research in Antarctica.
She pointed out that within the last 10 years, the Malaysian Antarctic Research Programme (MARP) had organised 62 expeditions involving 24 research projects in the areas of biological and physical sciences with the continued support from the Government of Malaysia. To date, MARP had produced more than five PhD scholars in polar research and more than 20 at Masters level.
She also highlighted Malaysia’s commitment and dedication to the preservation of the Antarctic with the recent launch of a coffee-table book on His Majesty the King of Malaysia’s visit to the Antarctic, and the issuance of a set of Commemorative Stamps and First Day Cover on the accomplishments of MARP.
Dato’ Dr. Sharifah Zarah also said that the Malaysian government had approved the establishment of the Sultan Mizan Antarctic Research Foundation which would provide funding for scientific research in the Antarctic.