KUALA LUMPUR - Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin will make a working visit to Antarctica from Nov 20 to 24.
The visit is in conjunction with Malaysia's formal accession to the Antarctic Treaty 1959, on Oct 31 this year, as a non-consultative member.
Also on the trip will be Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) task force chairman Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor and ASM fellow Prof Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah, the ministry said in a statement.
Malaysia's involvement with Antarctica started when Malaysia and Antigua and Barbuda highlighted the Antarctica issue at the UN General Assembly in 1983.
Malaysia's scientific and research involvement in Antarctica started on Nov 19, 1997, when the Cabinet approved Malaysia's participation in scientific research there.
A task force under the Malaysia Antarctic Research Programme (MARP) was then set up at ASM to encourage research in Antarctica among Malaysian scientists.
Following this, Malaysia's scientists and researchers started conducting research in Antarctica in 1999.
The statement said 62 expeditions had been carried out until last year involving 60 researchers from seven institutions of higher learning.
A total of 24 research projects in science, biology and physical science are being carried out by Malaysian scientists under the supervision of MARP.
The King's visit to Scott Base, a research facility operated by New Zealand, is seen as strengthening Antarctica's scientific research cooperation as well as bilateral relations between Malaysia and New Zealand, the statement said.
The statement also mentioned a parallel process being carried out to formulate a new Act to meet an obligation under the Antarctica Treaty to make Malaysia an Antarctic Treaty consultative country.
The formulation of the Act is being carried out by a working group headed by the ministry.
The draft of the Act is expected to be finalised for tabling in Parliament at the end of this year or early next year.