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DIGITAL Penang today officially entered a tripartite agreement with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Angkasa-X Innovation Sdn Bhd to further promote talent development in space economy in the state.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was present to witness the ceremony, said Angkasa-X and USM would collaborate to offer a professional course in Satellite Engineering, while Digital Penang would market and promote this course to potential students from the manufacturing field in Penang.

“Under this collaboration, USM will offer the required space and lab allocated for the equipment for satellite development and testing.

“For the past 50 years, our manufacturing ecosystem has grown from strength to strength since the advent of semiconductors.

“From then, we have continued to leverage our core competence in engineering and have extended into sectors such as medical devices, automotive electronics, avionics and other high-technology-intensive areas,” Chow said during the MoU signing ceremony in Komtar today.

Chow continued: “Venturing into new areas is part of our state’s strategy to accelerate and stay relevant in this highly competitive world.

“That too, with the positive intervention of a highly innovative and dedicated group of institutions such as USM, this strategy has been a success over the years.

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“And today, we are reaching not only another milestone but heading towards a different frontier in the future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in Penang.

“The Penang government is very delighted over the partnership between the two key players, which will enable Penang to spearhead and be the launchpad for the new space economy in the ASEAN region.”

He also then extended his heartfelt appreciation to USM and Angkasa-X for this partnership that will set a fresh benchmark and further accelerate the state’s economy, that too through a new frontier.

Angkasa-X executive chairman Datuk Dr Sean Seah, during his speech, warmly welcomed this partnership with Digital Penang and USM in realising their vision to build a technological-social inclusion company, that would focus on delivering several sustainable development goals (SDG) laid out by the United Nations.

“This partnership is just the early stage of something big that is to come soon.

“Our plan is to set up an ASEAN Space Tech Park in Malaysia to develop talent in satellite research & development, including assembly-integration-testing (AIT) as well as bridging global satellite technology collaborators with our team for technology transfer.

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“USM is a tremendous institution with a fantastic history of producing some of the best graduates and industry experts with proven excellence.

“To be able to tap into their expertise is one way to stay relevant in this new frontier. Massive respect for the institution for partnering in this initiative as well,” Sean said during his speech.

He also added that along the way, the other plan within this partnership is to establish an ASEAN-link Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Constellation to realise Angkasa’s vision of providing internet connectivity as a necessity to bring about social inclusion and digital economic transformation to the rural communities within the ASEAN region.

Separately, Chow said that such collaboration is very important to sustain talents in the state.

“Sometimes all we need to do is to venture into sectors that will be at the forefront in the next generation, and for that to happen, we need to ensure our education system is preparing our graduates to be industry-ready.

“This collaboration will open multiple doors of opportunities, and we can expect more collaboration and cooperation from relevant companies from afar and near to create a more holistic ecosystem in the space industry,” he added.

Also present during the ceremony were Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy, state Entrepreneurial Development, Trade and Industry Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain, state Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari and USM vice-chancellor Prof Dr Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan.

Story by Kevin Vimal

Pix by Alissala Thian

Video by Darwina Mohd Daud