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Vol. 31 No. 5
September-October 2009

Institut Kimia Malaysia: In Pursuit of Excellence in Chemistry

by Ting-Kueh Soon

After several years as an Associate National Adhering Organization of IUPAC, the Institut Kimia Malaysia, or the Malaysian Institute of Chemistry, has become a full member of the Union—a National Adhering Organization. The Institute’s NAO status was ratified unanimously by IUPAC Council at its meeting on 5 August 2009 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Institut Kimia Malaysia’s 41st annual meeting, 29 March 2008.

The Institut Kimia Malaysia (IKM) is a professional organization established to regulate and represent the profession of chemistry in Malaysia. IKM, which has its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and six branches in other regions of the country, has grown in tandem with the rapid development of the country. With a membership of 2 562 as of 1 January 2009, IKM enjoys a prominent place among the professional scientific organizations in Malaysia. The Institute is also playing a leading role in the development of chemistry in Asia.

IKM meeting with the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation.

The Institute regulates the practice of chemistry in Malaysia, represents the profession of chemistry, and promotes chemistry education and the public understanding and appreciation of chemistry. IKM also plays a key role in socioeconomic development, including encouraging sustainable development of natural resources and preserving and conserving the natural environment.

Chemists Act 1975
The IKM was registered under the Societies Act 1966 on 8 April 1967 with 27 founding members. It was subsequently incorporated as a professional body under the Chemists Act 1975 on 1 November 1977. The act gave IKM the authority to regulate and promote the practice of the profession of chemistry in Malaysia.
The act states that only registered chemists of IKM can do the following:

a. practice as a registered chemist
b. advertise as a registered chemist
c. adopt, use, or exhibit the term “registered chemist”
d. sign or certify any report or certificate of analysis intended for the public

Malaysian Chemistry Festival in 2008.

Among the key functions of the Institute are determining the qualifications of persons for admission as members and providing training, education, and examinations for those intending to practice chemistry. IKM also regulates the practice of chemistry and promotes the interests of the profession.

Membership of the Institute is open to all persons over 21 years old with a recognized pass or honors degree in chemistry or equivalent academic qualifications and the requisite practical experience. Membership is of three grades: fellowship, associateship and licentiateship. Fellows, associates, and licentiates are entitled to use the initials FMIC, AMIC, or LMIC, respectively, after their names.

New fellows of IKM in 2008.

Activities of the Institute
The Institute carries out a wide range of professional, educational, social, and promotional activities, including membership examinations, chemistry conferences, professional courses and continuing education programs, chemistry publications, and technical and professional visits and study tours. A number of IKM’s activities are focused on promoting public understanding and appreciation of chemistry, including the Chemistry and Technology Information Series, the Malaysian Chemistry Festival, and the Malaysian National Chemistry Quiz (K3M).

The Institute also regularly holds regional and international meetings. Among the major regional and international chemical conferences organized by the Institute in recent years are the following:

  • Asia Pacific Symposium on Information and Communication Technology in Chemical Education, Research and Development (2002)
  • Malaysian Chemical Conference and Exhibition on “Macromolecular Science and Its Impact on Industries” (2004)
  • 4th International Conference on Essential Oils, Fragrance, and Flavor Materials (2005)
  • MCC International Conference and Exhibition on Green Chemistry (2006)
  • 12th Asian Chemical Congress (2007)
  • 5th International Conference on Essential Oils, Fragrance and Flavour Materials (2008)
Question and answer session at the IKM annual meeting.

The Institute organized the 10th Asian Conference on Analytical Sciences (ASIANALYSIS X) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 11–13 August 2009. LabAsia 2009, an exposition on instrumentation, laboratory equipment, and services, was held in conjunction with ASIANALYSIS X. Another upcoming conference organized by IKM is the Malaysian International Chemical Congress 2010.

IKM Moving Forward
The Institute plans to continue playing a leading role in advancing chemistry in Malaysia and Asia. It intends to focus on chemistry education, research, and development. Strong emphasis will be placed on promoting chemistry education in schools, elevating the level of undergraduate chemistry programs in universities, and promoting cutting-edge research and development in chemistry.

Preparing questions for the 2009 Malaysian National Chemistry Quiz.

The Institute’s strategic goals call for it to emphasize membership development and continuing professional education and training. IKM plans to conduct training courses and workshops on instrumentation and method development in analytical chemistry, chemical safety and security, occupational safety and health, standards, national and international laws and regulations, and other related areas.

The Institute will also play an active role in promoting public awareness and understanding of chemistry, and the roles played by chemistry in socioeconomic development and improving quality of life.

Council of IKM and Its Committees
The Institute is managed by a 13-member Council elected from its membership, with the director general of chemistry as the registrar. The principal office bearers are elected annually from among the Council members. The principal office holders of the IKM Council for 2009/10 are as follows:

President: Datuk Dr. Ting-Kueh Soon
Vice President: Dato’ Chang Eng Thuan
Registrar: Mr. N. Hithaya Jeevan
Honorary Secretary: Prof. Datin Dr. Zuriati Zakaria
Honorary Treasurer: Mr. Steven Tea Hing San
Honorary Asst Secretary: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Teh Geok Bee
Honorary Asst Treasurer: Mr. Chee Ong Koh

The Council also establishes a number of committees to ensure the smooth operation and management of the Secretariat and various activities. Members of the Council are appointed as chairpersons of these committees.

National, Regional, and International Cooperation
Under the Chemists Act 1975, the Institute is under the provisions of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation. The director general of the Chemistry Department Malaysia is the registrar of the Institute.

The Institute is a founding member of the Confederation of Scientific and Technological Associations in Malaysia and the Malaysian Professional Centre. The Institute plays a major role in the governance, operation, and activities of both organizations.

The Institute also works closely with a number of government ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Chemistry Department Malaysia, and the Department of Standards Malaysia.

IKM is represented in the following national councils and committees:

  • Malaysian Council of Standards and Accreditation
  • National Measurement Council
  • Malaysian Council of Food Safety and Nutrition
  • Technical Committees and Working Groups of SIRIM Berhad

In addition, the Institute cooperates with Malaysian universities and other institutions of higher learning to promote chemistry education, research, and development. IKM and these institutions are jointly developing undergraduate chemistry programs to suit national development goals and the latest developments in chemical sciences.

IKM is a founding member of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies (FACS) and takes an active part in FACS activities. The Institute hosted the 12th Asian Chemical Congress in Kuala Lumpur in 2007.

IKM Publications
The Institute publishes the following journals and publications:

  • Malaysian Journal of Chemistry (an electronic refereed journal of IKM)
  • Berita IKM—Chemistry in Malaysia (a quarterly publication for members)
  • Kimia Kini (a semi-annual publication of the Chemistry Education Section)
  • Directory of Laboratory Services and Consultancy (an annual publication)

IKM Awards
The Institute presents a number of annual awards to recognize professional contributions, academic excellence, and outstanding meritorious service within its membership and profession. Among these awards are the following:

  • IKM Gold Medal for Distinctive Contribution to the Profession of Chemistry in Malaysia
  • IKM Gold Medal for Excellence in Chemical Research and Development
  • Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen K.T. Yong Award for significant contribution to development in the industrial sector in Malaysia
  • Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Law Hieng Ding Award for significant contribution to chemistry education and/or public understanding of chemistry
  • Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui Postgraduate Chemistry Medal
    Graduate Chemistry Medals
  • IKM Citation Awards for Meritorious Service

In conclusion, the Institute will continue to play a key role in the socioeconomic development of Malaysia. IKM will also play a major role in safeguarding the quality of our environment and ensuring the sustainable management of our natural resources. We will also work closely with other chemical societies from Asia and the rest of the world to ensure that chemical knowledge and innovations are put to good use to serve humankind.

Ting-Kueh Soon <soontk@ikm.org.my> is president of the Institut Kimia Malaysia.

www.ikm.org.my


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