Reaching out to the Public in 2016 and beyond
As the year 2015 comes to an end, it is time to reflect on some of the events that were related to IKM. As a scientific organization, IKM has done well in organizing international conferences. In 2015, we had successfully organized the 4th Federation of Asian Polymer Societies International Polymer Congress (4FAPS IPC) 2015 and the 7th Regional Symposium on Total Laboratory Management-Quality, Safety, Environment and Laboratory Informatics (7QSEL) and the Malaysia 5th International Scientific Instrument and Laboratory Equipment Exhibition (Lab Asia 2015).
IKM has continued to promote chemistry to students through the annual program of K3M and K2M, Chemistry Carnivals and awarding children of IKM members who have done well in Chemistry, Graduate and Postgraduate Chemistry awards at the signature event of IKM, Malam Kimia IKM.
All in all, we have done reasonably well in reaching out to the students, our members and the scientific community. What about reaching out to the general public? Does IKM have a role to play on issues affecting the well beings of our people? The recent issues of the Chemistry in Malaysia have published several relevant articles on the importance of food safety, water quality and plastic classification. The question is “Does our publication reach out to general public?”
IKM is a professional scientific organization inaugurated on 8th April 1967 and subsequently incorporated under the Chemists Act 1975 on 1 November 1977 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia. The Chemists Act 1975 gave recognition to the professional practice of chemistry in Malaysia and under the Act IKM is to regulate and promote the practice of the profession of chemistry in Malaysia.
With the awaiting Chemists (Amendment) Act 2015 being operational on 1st November 2015, the role of IKM has been expanded to include providing information to the public on matters relating to chemistry. Particularly Section 7f states that “to provide information and advice to members and the public on matter relating to chemistry” and Section 7h “to provide professional input, advice and consultation on national and global issues affecting the public by working closely with academia, other professional bodies and the industry”.
In recent months, there are two important issues that affect us; the E-cigarettes/Vaping and the Bauxite mining.
E-cigarette, which is originally intended for existing adult smokers to reduce nicotine risk has now become a State issue. The Bauxite mining in Pahang has been temporary suspended for three months, when the issue received mainstream media coverage as an environmental disaster and a health hazard to the general population. Some of our members who are fellows of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia will be participating in the discussion on the effect of the bauxite mining and the way forward in tackling this issue. IKM will encourage our members to contribute ideas on these two important topics.
We will also be looking into the mechanism of making our publications and our comments on issues related to chemistry available to the public.
2015 had been an eventful year for IKM. With the Chemists (Amendment) Act 2015 being in place, I foresee there will be more additional activities for the IKM. I look forward to the contribution of our members to chart a more exciting year for IKM.
Once again, I wish you all a happy and successful new year. May the year 2016 bring to you lots of love, peace and happiness.
Dato’ Dr. Ong Eng Long