Malaysian space law ready next year

PUTRAJAYA – The national space act and policy is set to be introduced by the middle of next year.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said it was time for the nation to have a space act and policy to govern space activities.

“Malaysia is increasingly involved in space exploration activities and the policy and act seeks to regulate and guide such activities,” Ongkili said yesterday after launching the 4th anniversary celebration of the National Astronaut Programme.

The celebration saw the handing over of the Malaysia Space Seed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the Malaysian National Space Agency (Angkasa).

The local chilli seeds were brought to the International Space Station in January this year to be exposed to micro-gravity environment.

Ongkili said that the ministry was collaborating with Angkasa to develop both the act and policy.

“However, the ministry is still in the midst of discussions with the stakeholders, various government agencies, academicians and industry players so that there will be overall guidelines that are driven by laws.

“Moreover, the new act and policy will be used to regulate the activities and operations related to space including the launch and operation of satellites, earth station operations and other related activities.”

Ongkili said to govern space exploration and activities, the government was currently using available acts and existing regulations that are related to aerospace.

Asked to comment on a write-up in an opposition blog that the RM300 million (S$124 million) allocated for the ministry in Budget 2012 was not “innovation and technology friendly”, Ongkili said innovation and research and development was one of the five core initiatives that the government was focusing on.

“Innovation will be expanded and the prime minister had announced that next year will be the National Innovation Movement.

“The ‘Jejak Inovasi’ programme by the Malaysian Foundation for Innovation will be made into a national programme which strives to encourage development of new ideas and commercialisation of innovative products, particularly from rural areas,” Ongkili said, adding that new incentives were also introduced in the budget to generate innovation.

“From this, we can see that the government is giving all its support and focusing on innovation in the country but of course when it comes to allocation, people will always say that it is not enough.”

During the anniversary celebration, Ongkili launched the Space Science Education Portal, which is an initiative that promotes continuous learning on space exploration for Malaysians.

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