WELCOMING REMARKS BY THE HON TUN MUSA HITAM
Location Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Dr. Savas Alpay, Director General, Statistical, Economic & Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic countries, Turkey
- Distinguished role players & guests
- Members of the media
- Ladies and Gentlemen.
Richard Feynman, the American physicist who is credited with introducing the concept of nanotechnology has been called the “great explainer” and his guiding principle was that if a topic could not be explained in a freshman lecture, it was not yet fully understood.
Today I hope to be able to emulate the “great explainer” in talking about the relevance of nanotechnology to the goals and objectives of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF).
The WIEF, in collaboration with University Teknology Mara, set up the WIEF-UiTM international centre in 2007. One of its goals was to encourage discussions among young people who will be our future leaders. University students and lecturers seldom get a chance to hear world class minds speak. Through this discourse series we bring these speakers to them and hope they get to experience what those people in the outside world experience. We are glad today to bring renowned scientists in the field of nanotechnology from all over the world to share their knowledge – Dr. Mehmet Bayindir from turkey, Prof. Ille Gebeshuber from Austria, Prof. Jackie Ying from Singapore and Prof. Sirirurg Songsivilai from Thailand, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamad Rusop from UiTM and Dr. Gunawan Witjaksono, from MIMOS. I thank you all for taking time off from your busy schedules to come and tell us more about this wonderful technology.
This sharing of knowledge will not be limited to only those in the room today. Thanks to the wonders of video streaming technology, today’s discourse is being broadcast live to other students and lecturers at the International Islamic University, Universiti Sains Malaysia and the International Medical University.
The WIEF, with its overarching theme of Building Bridges Through Business, cannot divorce itself from science. Indeed Islam has never divorced itself from science. From an Islamic standpoint, science is considered to be linked to the concept of Tawhid (the oneness of god), as are all other branches of knowledge.
Muslim countries, once leaders in scientific innovations, are now left behind in the field of research and development, allocating less than 0.4 per cent of their gross national product compared to the global average of 2.4 per cent. Lack of funding is partially to blame, but a bigger problem is the lack of cohesion between Muslim countries in coming together to share their knowledge amongst themselves and with the rest of the world.
This is where the WIEF sees itself playing an important role. We are already making strong headway in being a premier business networking platform. Our Annual Forum attracts prominent speakers, experts in their own fields and high quality participants. And we act as a catalyst in bringing together businessmen, financiers, government officials to create business links and opportunities.
The WIEF hopes to replicate its success in business networking to scientific networking. I use this term to mean the meeting of minds to connect, discuss and create new initiatives among the scientific community. Which is precisely what we are doing here today.
One of the branches of knowledge that the WIEF is particularly interested in, is the relatively new field of nanotechnology, which is the manipulation of matter on an atomic or molecular scale to develop materials, devices, or other structures. The applications of nanotechnology are wide and extensive, cutting across many disciplines – among them nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, and nanomaterials. Because this science is new, muslim countries can delve into it without being left too far behind. Iran for example, began its nanotechnology program in 2001 and is now among the world’s top 15 countries in the world in the production of nanotechnology and nano science.
I understand that Malaysia is using a two-pronged approach to develop nanotechnology to transform Malaysian industries and eventually every facet of our lives. The first prong is to coordinate multi-agency investments in nanotechnology with the setting up of the national nanotechnology directorate in 2010 under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI).
The second is to provide the missing link between laboratory and market. The RM200 million NanoMalaysia centre complex with incubation facilities is currently being built at Senai High Tech park, Johor and will act as a commercialization platform to further drive the development of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is going to become pervasive. The WIEF is looking into developing a series of roundtables and workshops revolving around this subject. We see nanotechnology as not only useful in unifying the Muslim scientific community but also as something that would bring huge benefit for mankind.
Today’s discussions will explore the current factors fueling nanotechnology’s growth, networking and start-up opportunities and potential bottlenecks to viable commercialization. It will also examine how nanotechnology can engineer a better future for all of us.
I do not know if I have achieved my objective of trying to become the great explainer. I may have, I may not have. But what i normally tell young people (*including myself!) Is that it is important to try. Never fear making the attempt. If you are sincere in what you are doing and what you are doing is going to benefit society, by all means take that first step and do it well.
To the young people in the audience I wish you all every success in your endeavors. To the speakers, thank you once again for willing to share your knowledge and to the organizers, congratulations for a job well done.
Wabillahi taufik walhidayah, assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakathu.