12 October 2007

Final exam after astronaut returns to Earth

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: He may have passed the vigorous tests to become Malaysia’s first Angkasawan, but Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor still has a final exam before receiving his Masters of Surgery (Orthopaedics and Traumatology).

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, 34, who is heading for the International Space Station (ISS), was in his final year of the four-year programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) when he was shortlisted for the Angkasawan programme.

Hospital UKM (HUKM) director Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Abdul Razak said: “He can take his final exam once Mosti (Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry) releases him after he returns and is ready to sit for it.”

Prof Dr Mohamad, former head of HUKM’s Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department, added that he was proud of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s accomplishment.

He joked that the university initially wanted to give Dr Sheikh Muszaphar his final exam in space but he would only be there for nine days.

The exam requires six months of clinical training.

UKM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said she was thankful that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar had made it safely into space.

“At UKM, we’re very proud as he is one of our staff members. Now, we can say that UKM is not only internationalised but is also in space,” she said with a smile.

Dr Sharifah Hapsah added that two of the experiments Dr Sheikh Muszaphar would be carrying out at the ISS were conceived and prepared by UKM scientists.

She was speaking to reporters after the signing of world-renowned paediatric surgeon Prof Dr Tan Hock Lim’s four-year service contract with the university yesterday.

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