MALAYSIA is no stranger to winning Nobel Prize awards.
In 2013, then 52-year-old Lt Kol (Rtd) Mohd Nasarudin Yusof, a retired Armed Forces personnel became the first Malaysian awarded the Nobel Peace Prize which was conferred to his team – Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental group working to ensure the disarmament of chemical weapons around the globe.
Mohd Nasarudin, a chemical weapons and munition specialist himself, had joined the OPCW in 2010 and moved to operate at The Hague, Netherlands.
Following the award, the OPCW received a medal, a diploma and a cash prize of about RM3.77mil.
“When you work overseas, no matter how small it (your work) is, you are carrying your country’s flag.
“I did not win the Nobel prize for individual achievement. I received it with my organisation, for the whole team’s work,” he said in an interview.
Later in 2017, Datuk Dr Ronald McCoy’s anti-nuclear group, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its continuous efforts in advocating the abolishment of nuclear weapons.
ICAN consists of almost 500 non-governmental organisations from around the world.
According to the Nobel Prize website, ICAN was awarded the Peace Prize “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.
The obstetrician had first proposed the establishment of ICAN in 2005, which was modelled on the successful International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Dr Ronald in an interview, expressed his gratitude over the award.
“Winning the Nobel Peace Prize will give us a lot more clout as an organisation to get rid of all nuclear weapons”.
However, we still have some way to go since the first Nobel Prize aspiration in 1998, when then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had challenged the scientific community to win the Nobel Prize by 2020.
The race for a Nobel prize in Science has found its way as a national endeavour, when the government in 2013 kickstarted a “Nobel Mindset” pilot programme – which was affiliated with the PERMATApintar project for gifted students – focusing on nurturing “prize-winning” scientists.
The programme also enlisted the aid of educators from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the New York Academy of Sciences.