Next angkasawan should go with China, Malaysia’s first spaceman tells Putrajaya

Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha hopes that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will continue to develop Malaysia’s space programme. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha hopes that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will continue to develop Malaysia’s space programme. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, the first Malaysian to conquer space, hopes the government can send out the next angkasawan to the final frontier by 2030 with the help of China.

He added that it would be possible if Malaysia were to cooperate with China’s astronauts to develop a programme for that, Malay daily Sinar Harian reported on its website today.

“I suggest we go with China because China is now the next frontier in space. I feel we can work with China to send another astronaut,” he was quoted saying during a SinarLive session at Karangkraf Media Group in Shah Alam, Selangor yesterday.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar also offered his help to facilitate a bilateral programme.

“My relationship is good with the Chinese astronauts, especially its first astronaut. And I received many invitations from China as well,” he was quoted adding.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, who is now a motivational expert, expressed his hope that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will continue to develop Malaysia’s space programme.

He also said the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has plans to send another astronaut by 2030, and hopes a woman will have an equal chance then.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar rebutted critics who mocked his 2007 space journey and claimed it was for fun, saying the result of his 25 experiments to find the cure for cancer has been published.

“Actually, many who do not know the results of the experiment as they said I was there for fun. It's not true.

“I brought 25 experiments involving UKM, UPM, UiTM and UM to get antidote for various diseases including cancer. All the results of the study have been done very well, on the list of intellectual property and have been commercialised,” he was quoted saying.