KUALA LUMPUR: The training has been intense, the months long. The choice is now down to the wire.
In just six months, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will announce who has made the cut to become Malaysia's first Angkasawan.
In the stiff competition between medical officer Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and dentist Kapten Dr Faiz Khaleed, both candidates have demonstrated equal mental and physical strength during their training in Star City, Moscow, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis.
It is difficult to even guess who is the more likely candidate, he said yesterday.
Dr Jamaluddin was quick to add that the timing of the announcement could vary depending on further notice from the Russian authorities.
It is also possible that the chosen Angkasawan may be changed at the time of launch.
He may suddenly start panicking and sweating and if this happens, the second candidate will be launched.
Both Angkasawan candidates are undergoing a year's training, which will end in October.
Dr Jamaluddin was speaking after a discussion on the BIO International Convention (BIO 2007), to be held from May 6 to 9 in Boston, the United States.
There is flourishing interest from the West on outsourcing the biotechnology sector to Asia.
Malaysia is strategically located and we should make use of this interest to woo people to the country.
So we will use BIO 2007 as it gives a global platform to draw investor attention to Malaysia, he said.