PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia should draft laws that allow the country to explore and manage marine biodiversity and resources beyond national jurisdiction.
Science Adviser to the Prime Minister and National Professorial Council chairman Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid said so far no country had such laws, and the exploration of international waters was led by developed nations, including the United States, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Zakri said those with the technology and knowledge could conduct deep sea exploration, citing the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as an example.
“(The deep sea) areas have huge potential and vast natural resources which can be turned into medicine and industrial products with values that can reach trillions of ringgit,” he said at a roundtable discussion on “Ocean Governance II: Malaysia’s Interest and Role in the Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction” on Tuesday.
Zakri said a team of marine science and legal experts would give their input to the government on formulating an effective ocean governance and management policy framework.
“The key contents of the law include determining finding rights in deep sea exploration,” he said.
Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim said the ministry would form an official work team comprising stakeholders to deliberate and collect expertise to forward Malaysia’s interests and ocean governance beyond national jurisdiction.
“We have many resources, so we need to combine existing expertise to build a strong stand and help Wisma Putra to address the matter at the international level,” he said.
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar good law management could prevent negative impacts on marine biodiversity, socio-economy and deep sea marine resources.
“This roundtable discussion will become a platform for government agencies, researchers and non-governmental organisations to share input on issues related to legal protection and management of marine biodiversity,” she said.