Nuklear Malaysia studies potential PPP cooperation on rare earth extraction R&D


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31: Nuklear Malaysia is examining potential collaborations with several private companies and local universities through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to develop research and expertise in rare earth extraction.

Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup said in  research and development (R&D), Nuklear Malaysia has a total of 30 researchers from various fields including radiation safety.

“This includes carrying out R&D in mineral processing and extraction of rare earth elements. Apart from that, Nuklear Malaysia is also involved in the upstream sector which is the exploration and mapping of rare earth elements (REE),” he said when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2024 for the ministry in Dewan Rakyat today.

Arthur said on the regulatory aspect, the Department of Atomic Energy enforces the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 and recognises Radiation Protection Officers (PPS) through the PPS certification scheme.

To date, the Department of Atomic Energy has certified a total of 1,268 PPS personnel who are trained in the field of nuclear safety and security to help licensees including those in the mineral processing industry that contain natural radioactive substances comply with the prescribed legal aspects.

In the meantime, Arthur said MOSTI is intensifying the implementation of private investment or alternative funds through Malaysia Science Endowment (MSE).

It is in line with efforts to achieve the target of Gross Research and Development Expenditure (GERD) of 2.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025.

“MSE is a platform for alternative funds from various sources such as industry, international funds, waqaf and donors to finance the country’s R&D, thus reducing dependence on government funds while boosting the involvement of the private sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, during the winding up for the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the minister concerned Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said from January to August this year,  the government had channeled a total of RM1.6 billion to more than 530,000 aid recipients via the Social Welfare Department (JKM).

She said since last year, the basic criteria for eligibility of the welfare assistance scheme is the 2019 Food Poverty Line Income (PGK), which is RM1,169 per month.

“Consideration to determine eligibility is through two methods to assess the true picture which is more appropriate. Firstly, the Current Average Household PGK and second Current Average Poor Per Capita PGK.

“Other evaluations are the social support aspects of the family as a whole such as dependents in a family, chronic health problems, the need for intensive care, psychosocial and so on,” she said.

Nancy said, for the Senior Citizen Activity Centre (PAWE), RM8.05 million was channeled to 161 PAWE across the country, benefiting more than 50,000 members of various religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Sh e said the assistance was not intended to fully cover the operation of the center but rather to encourage each PAWE to continue to actively carry out activities and ease the burden of their operating costs.

The Dewan will sit again tomorrow.