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Science and technology in Malaysia

Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor responding to a query form the media in a pre-flight press conference.
Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian in space

Science Policy in Malaysia is regulated by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI). MOSTI largely focuses on five areas: biotechnology, ICT policy, industry, sea to space and core science and technology. [1] Other ministries, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health also have science departments. Training in scientific areas was promoted during the 1970s and 1980s. From 1987-1997 research and development used 0.24% of GNP, and in 1998 high-tech exports made up 54% of Malaysia's manufactured exports.

The country is one of the world's largest exporters of semiconductor devices, electrical goods, and information and communication technology products.[2] In an effort to create a self-reliant defensive ability and support national development, Malaysia privatised some of its military facilities in the 1970s. This has created a defence industry, which in 1999 was brought under the Malaysia Defence Industry Council. The government continues to promote this sector and its competitiveness, actively marketing the defence industry.[3]

First satellite operate by Malaysia is during 1996 when a private company, MEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd (formerly known as Binariang Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd) bought 2 communications satellite from Boeing Satellite Systems named them MEASAT-1 and MEASAT-2. MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3A was launched on 2006 and 2009 respectively. Malaysia successfully design and built first remote sensing satellite named TiungSAT-1 through collaboration between Astronautic Technology Sdn Bhd (ATSB) (Malaysia) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (United Kingdom). The satellite was launched into Low Earth orbit on 26 September 2000 at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Malaysian second remote sensing satellite, RazakSAT was launched on 14 July 2009 and RazakSAT-2 was planned to be launched in 2015.[4]

In 2002 the Malaysian National Space Agency (Angkasa) was formed to deal with all of Malaysia's activities in space, and to promote space education and space experiments. It is focused on developing the "RazakSAT" satellite, which is a remote sensing satellite with CCD cameras.[5] In early 2006, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and three other finalists were selected for the Angkasawan spaceflight programme. This programme came about when Russia agreed to transport one Malaysian to the International Space Station as part of a multi-billion dollar purchase of 18 Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets by the Royal Malaysian Air Force.[6]

Malaysian remote sensing satellite, RazakSAT

In an effort to create a self-reliant defensive ability and support national development Malaysia privatized some of its military facilities in the 1970s.[3] This has created a defence industry, which in 1999 was brought under the Malaysia Defence Industry Council. The government continues to try and promote this sector and its competitiveness, actively marketing the defence industry.[3] One way it does this is through the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition, one of the largest defence and civil showcases in the Asia Pacific, regularly attended by over 500 companies.[3] The Malaysian Armed Forces relies heavily on local military technology and high-tech weapons systems designed and manufactured by foreign countries.

The Malaysian Antarctic Research Programmer (MARP) began in 1997 following an invitation from New Zealand to use Scott Base and Malaysian cabinet approval. A taskforce created by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia sent their first expedition in 1999. On 5 August 2002 the University of Malaya established the National Antarctic Research Centre. MARP's area of interest was extended to the arctic in 2006.[7] On 31 October 2011 Malaysia became a party to the Antarctic Treaty.[8]

In July 2011, a group of Malaysian scientists founded the Scientific Malaysian network, a non-profit initiative to connect Malaysian scientists across the globe.[9]


  1. ^ Malaysia: The Atlas of Islamic-World Science and Innovation. Country Case Study No.1
  2. ^ "Malaysia". United States State Department. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Pike, John. "Malaysia Defence Industry". Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "RM200mil for RazakSAT-2 satellite programme". 
  5. ^ "RazakSAT". 
  6. ^ "Malaysian astronaut to fly to ISS in 2007 - Russian space agency - 1 | Russia | RIA Novosti". 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  7. ^ "Background". University of Malaya. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Parties". Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "About Scientific Malaysian". Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
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