ok... this is kinda wistful thinking, but what Dr Tan wrote in his letter to Malaysiakini makes good sense and Lulu hopes that it will not be a crystal ball prophesy of "our" space program.
As the letters to the editor is available without subscription, Lulu will take the liberty of reproducing it in full.
The government has spent at least RM568 million to put Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor in space. He has just returned to earth. Congratulations to him. While celebrating this event, we must not follow the Saudi Arabia example in our quest for outer space.
According to John Lawton and Patricia Moody (A prince in space), Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud was the first Muslim spaceman. In 1985, he traveled in an American rocket launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida.
Sultan Salman was then commissioned as an officer into the Royal Saudi Air Force. He holds the rank of lieutenant colonel, and is qualified in several military and civilian aircraft.
In June 1985, he flew as a payload specialist on STS-51G. As one of a seven-member international crew, which also included American and French astronauts, he represented the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat) in deploying their satellite, Arabsat-1B.
Upon conclusion of his space flight, he helped in establishing the Association of Space Explorers, an international organisation comprising all astronauts and cosmonauts who have been in space, and served on its board of directors for several years. For several years, he also headed the Advisory Committee for the Science Oasis Project to be built in Riyadh.
On the day Sultan Salman went into space, 230 Arabs from several countries congregated in Cape Kennedy to encourage him. He did three space experiments designed by Arab scientists. His trip was deemed a turning point in science for the Arab world
But over the past 22 years, what has been the state of science, including space technology, in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world? Saudi Arabia has some of the state-of-the-art scientific facilities. What happens to the Oasis Science Project? Indeed, we need to learn from the Saudi example.
The writer is DAP MP for Kepong.