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Malaysia signs 2 international space agreements, commits to carry out its responsibilities in the space sector

Malaysia has signed 2 of the 5 international space agreements or conventions related to space under the United Nations (UN), said the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI).

In a statement, MOSTI said the 2 agreements or conventions that have been signed are the Treaty on Principle Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 1967 (OST 1967) and Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space, 1968 (ARRA 1968).

The ministry said this move is aimed at protecting and safeguarding the country’s security and sovereignty.

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“The process of ratifying or becoming a member of the agreements or conventions is being considered, in line with the national interest,” it said.

Meanwhile, MOSTI also said Malaysia had been a member in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN Copuos) since 1994.

“This shows the country’s commitment to carrying out its responsibilities in the space sector at the international level,” the statement reads.

“Malaysia’s commitment has been proven through the gazettement of the Malaysian Space Board Act 2022 (Act 834) on 25 Jan 2022.”

“With the existence of Act 834, it allows the government, through the ministry, to consider the necessary actions to ratify all international agreements or conventions related to space in line with the country’s priorities and interests.”

The remaining 3 international agreements or conventions related to space that have yet to be signed are the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, 1972 (LIAB 1972); Convention of Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, 1975 (REG 1975) and Agreement Governing the Activities of State on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 1979 (MOON 1979).

The UN Space Law

The UN space law can be described as the body of law governing space-related activities. Like other general international law, the space law comprises a variety of international agreements, treaties, conventions, and United Nations General Assembly resolutions as well as rules and regulations of international organizations. 

The space law also comprises rules, principles and standards of international law appearing in the five international treaties and five sets of principles governing outer space which have been developed under the auspices of the United Nations.

It addresses a variety of matters, such as the preservation of the space and Earth environment, liability for damages caused by space objects, the settlement of disputes, the rescue of astronauts, the sharing of information about potential dangers in outer space, the use of space-related technologies, and international cooperation.

In addition, the space law also introduces fundamental principles that guide the conduct of space activities, including the notion of space as the province of all humankind, the freedom of exploration and use of outer space by all states without discrimination, and the principle of non-appropriation of outer space.

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