Malaysia has no intention of signing NASA-led Artemis Accords yet, says Deputy Science Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia does not intend to sign the NASA-led Artemis Accords yet, says Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Ahmad Amzad Mohamed @ Hashim (pic).

The Artemis Accords is an international agreement that establishes how countries can cooperate to peacefully and responsibly conduct exploration of the moon, Parliament heard.

Ahmad Amzad said the government was of the view that Malaysia was still not prepared to participate in the initiative.

“Any decision to join such an agreement must be reviewed carefully first from various aspects – including the nation’s financial capabilities and the benefits it will bring to the country,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Shaharizukirnaian Abd Kadir (PN-PAS) during Question Time.

Shaharizukirnaian had asked the government to state its position on the NASA-led Artemis Accords and whether Malaysia had participated in a closed-door workshop on the international lunar research station held in Zhuhai, South China.

On Oct 14, last year, Nasa announced that the United States signed the accords with Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

The accords include provisions for peaceful exploration, safety, transparency, sustainable use of space resources, cooperation to build and operate spacecraft and other hardware, and the management and disposal of orbital debris.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agreement would establish a “singular global coalition” to guide future expeditions to the moon.

Ahmad Amzad explained to Parliament that it was a joint effort for peaceful exploration including sending the first female astronaut to the moon by 2024.

“An agreement was signed as a guideline for such cooperation which will be implemented via bilateral agreements and explanation of the legal provisions of the countries that participated in the programme,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the closed-door seminar that was jointly hosted by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, he said the seminar was attended by various experts including representatives from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, the European Space Agency and Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation.

“Several experts also took part, including one from Malaysia – Datuk Seri Dr Mazlan Othman, who had formerly served at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs,” added the former deputy speaker.

The seminar was held between China, Europe and Russia, and was aimed at jointly exploring a plan to build a scientific research station on the Moon.