Welcoming 2019

As we usher in 2019, I would like to share with you my thoughts on what is coming in 2019.

2019 will be a challenging year for us.

For 2019, our country Malaysia is faced with a number of uncertainties. First is the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, China and USA. USA is also faced with political uncertainty due to the Trump administration causing serious market volatility and seriously affecting emerging markets. The EU is also facing major problems like Brexit in the UK, yellow shirts in France and the rise of right wing extremists in many EU countries. There is no sight for peace in the Middle East and the Arab States such as Yemen, Syria and others. As a whole, the world is faced with major political and economic upheavals.

However, we are still predicting a moderate growth of 4.7% in 2019 with prospect of better crude oil and commodity prices. On this, we shall leave it to the new Pakatan Harapan Government to lead us through this difficult time and create greater prosperity, harmony and inclusiveness among all Malaysians 

It is based on this assumption that we also expect IKM to have a reasonably good year in 2019. IKM will continue to emphasize on three key areas: EDUCATION, RESEARCH & PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE.

EDUCATION means chemistry education in school and public understanding of chemistry. Chemistry education must start early in schools, right at the primary level, and continue through to upper secondary. This is to ensure that the younger generation are chemistry literate and be able to make informed decisions on matters related to chemistry in their everyday life 

For those who have an interest in chemistry, they will continue to pre-university and undergraduate level where they will graduate with B. Sc. Major in chemistry. After this, there are two possible pathways; one is working in a chemistry-related work environment or even in other scientific or professional streams. The other is to pursue higher degree or qualification leading to a life in academia or research or other professional careers.

RESEARCH means chemical research, both fundamental and applied. Fundamental chemical research is very important and key to creation of new knowledge that may lead to breakthroughs in scientific knowledge and knowhow. Many of the important and significant applications and technologies are the result of fundamental research.

Applied research is key to new discoveries, technologies and innovations. In this rapid changing world, new materials, processes, technologies and innovations form the basis of rapid economic growth and changes to the social frameworks of the world. Applied chemical research is especially important to Malaysia for a number of reasons. First our primary commodities such as palm oil, rubber, timber, oil and gas would require further processing and transformations to make them into value-added products. Palm oil is a good example where it can be converted into oleochemicals for various applications such as biodiesel, detergents and surfactants, household products, personal care and cosmetic products, and many others. In this era of sustainable development and the UN SDGs 2030, chemical research is also key to such sectors as renewable energy, advanced materials, air and water quality, food and nutrition, and many others.

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE is the forte of IKM. Chemists Act 1975 empowers IKM to implement and regulate the practice of chemistry in Malaysia. First, we must ensure that the quality and proficiency of our chemistry graduates must have sufficient and required chemistry knowledge to make him a qualified and efficient chemist. As a practising chemist, one must also keep up to date with the latest development in your area of chemistry and work. New knowledge and skills including new analytical techniques, instrumentation, technology and innovation must be part of the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of the profession. We must also be up to date with the latest development in standards, rules and regulations, chemical safety and security requirements affecting our professional practices. In addition, as  responsible citizens of this earth, we must also adhere to our professional code of ethics and make chemistry works for the betterment of humanity.

IKM will continue to serve our members and the society at large. We shall strive for excellence in the chemistry profession in Malaysia.


Datuk ChM Dr Soon Ting Kueh                                                                

President, Institut Kimia Malaysia                                                                                

Date: 31st January 2019