Tuesday June 13, 2006
Using satellite technology to enhance life
By M. VEERA PANDIYAN
BANGALORE: Malaysia is set to use satellite technology in education, agriculture, fisheries and telemedicine, to further improve incomes and the quality of life of its people, especially those in rural areas.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who ended his week-long tour to India with a visit to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here yesterday, said he was very impressed by the application of the technology in India.
“We are looking at initiating a formal cooperation with ISRO in various areas,” he said.
While ISRO’s main focus is the development of satellites, launch rockets, ground systems and remote sensing programmes, its technology has been extended to help bridge the huge development gap between urban and rural India.
Many Indians in rural areas now have access to distance education, health care and telemedicine diagnosis, crop yield projections and even fish catches from the sea, through the use of ISRO’s satellites and remote village sensing centres.
The technology is also relied on to identify groundwater for bore wells, soil stability studies, prevention of landslides and disaster area management.
Najib, who is also Defence Minister, said the Government would also consider India’s missile technology, radar systems, defence communication systems and support hardware offered through state-owned company Bharat Electronics Ltd.
“Mindef will look at the suitability of the systems for our defence needs,” he added.
Najib and his entourage, including Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis and senior Mindef officials, earlier visited the company’s headquarters, where they were shown state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems.
On the IT industry, Najib said Malaysia wanted to be closely linked to Bangalore-based global Indian software giants such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro Technologies.
“Towards this, the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDEC) has been asked to set up an office here,” he said.
“We have to keep abreast of the software industry, and respond quickly and correctly to current needs and requirements.
“We want them to invest in Malaysia, especially in the huge shared services and outsourcing (SSO) sector. We can benefit from the potential growth of the industry.”
He said Infosys, which had withdrawn plans to set up its disaster data back-up recovery centre because of bureaucratic obstacles, was still keen on investing in Malaysia.
Najib said efforts would be taken immediately to resolve such problems in future.