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Central Region News

April 27, 2006 14:13 PM

Malaysia To Invest In Nanotechnology

Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak (left) sharing a light moment with participants during a photography session after opening the International Conference on Composite Materials and Nano-Structures (iC2MS 2006) in Shah Alam. The five-day conference is held in conjunction with 10th Defence Service Asia Exhibition and Conference (DSA 2006). Pix: Azman Firdaus

SHAH ALAM, April 27 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is looking to invest in the emerging field of nanotechnology which has the potential to dramatically improve warfare technology in the coming decades, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said today that active nanotechnology research currently was focusing on applications in information technology and medicine while potential military applications of nanotechnology lacked proper attention.

Najib, who is also the Defence Minister, said he believed that nanotechnology could dramatically improve warfare technology in the next few decades.

Lighter, stronger, smarter and heat-resistant nano-structures could be used in the production of weapons or make military transportation faster, together with strengthening armour and saving energy, he said in his address at the International Conference on Composite Materials and Nano-Structures here Thursday.

Nano-sensors with extreme sensitivity and accuracy or even nano-computers with more network sophistication could be produced and embedded in various military products and weapons of the future, making them intelligent and formidable, Najib said.

Other notable developments included the incorporation of smart materials in the soldier of the future, offering physical, medical and electronic protection against adversaries, increasing alertness and with the provision of operating in biological, chemical and nuclear contaminated environments, he added.

Najib said Malaysia took cognizance that its part in nanotechnology could not be carried out alone and it was advisable to establish a good foundation for undertaking collaborative work with interested organisations worldwide.

"The close relationship fostered among the collaborative partners working in the area of nanotechnology is important in sharing resources, knowledge, experience and applications. This in turn helps create spin-offs for small and medium scale industries in many areas, including defence," he said.

Najib said Malaysia's research and development (R&D) should be geared towards developing technology that could be commercialised to enable production of defence products at reasonable cost, hence ensuring benefit for the Malaysian Armed Forces.

He also said that he looked forward to see more collaboration between researchers in universities, public research institutes and the industry to create strategic partnerships on potential research projects and to make use of the opportunities of defence science and technology, particularly in areas with high commercialisation potential.

Najib said the emergence of modern defence technology and weapons had changed the nature of warfare and as participants in a a dynamic geopolitical environment, Malaysia needed to take stock of the rapid change in defence technology development.

He said it was important to make efforts and take continuous actions to advance in the area of defence technology as the market currently demanded more and more innovative and higher quality defence products and services.

"New threats and challenges require new roles and new missions for our armed forces. Therefore, without compromising performance, we need the right defence capabilities, the right doctrine and the right equipment to manage situations," he added.

Najib said the Government was committed to support innovative R&D in nanotechnology and composites technology as an essential component of Malaysia's economic and social well-being.

In the recently-unveiled Ninth Malaysia Plan, the Government placed emphasis on moving the country's economy up the value chain, raising the capacity for knowledge and innovation were among other thrusts, he said.



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