Dewan Rakyat: Heated discussion over second national astronaut programme

Dewan Rakyat: Heated discussion over second national astronaut programme
KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition MP and Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohd Diah had a heated exchange over the National Astronaut Programme, at the Dewan Rakyat here Tuesday. 

It started when Teo Kok Seong (DAP-Rasah) said Abu Bakar had not answered his original question on the cost of the second National Astronaut programme.

Then he went on to claim that the first programme was a waste of tax-payers money and that Barisan Nasional had used the country's first astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor as a campaign tool at the polls, at which point Abu Bakar became angry. 
"I've answered the question, but he's not listening. The second national astronaut programme is in the planning stage. It will take into consideration the views of various parties, including the public, scientists and
NGOs. The cost will be determined later.

"As to his claims, I want to clarify until he's clear. He doesn't understand the mission and its results, I want to make him understand," he said while responding to Teo's enquiry on the latest development on the second programme.

Abu Bakar said the results of the first programme was divided into five segments, among them 24 research and development papers published in international journals and conferences and eight patents. 

"The second mission depends on getting a turn determined by the association of launching countries. And whether we can accept the offer also depends on our economic situation," he said.

Abu Bakar further added that the government was also working on developing micro-gravity research in collaboration with agencies such as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and European Space Agency (ESA).