Malaysia is endowed with a large maritime realm covering sea areas of over 600,000 square kilometres and continental shelf areas of about 476,761 square kilometres. These areas are endowed with a bounty of marine resources which fuel the country's economic growth and provide nutrition to her people. The large sea area and the bounty of resources also carry immense management responsibilities ranging from ensuring the integrity of Malaysia's sovereignty over its maritime territories to the sustainable development of marine resources. Added to these are Malaysia's responsibilities as a member of the international community as stipulated in the many international maritime conventions which Malaysia has ratified.
The Government of Malaysia taking into consideration these issues and the generally acknowledged need to improve the governance of the countries sea areas and its resources therefore took the decision in 1993 to establish the Maritime Institute of Malaysia.
The Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) was incorporated on 19 July 1993 with a mandate to conduct policy research on the maritime realm of the country. This is to be achieved through research and research linked activities as elaborated in MIMA's Memorandum of Association namely:
- Mobilising national and international expertise in the area of maritime policy analysis, development, implementation and evaluation in support of the Malaysian Government.
- Undertaking of research and studies on Malaysia's maritime domain and providing opportunities for exchanges of ideas on such matters.
- Providing the Government of Malaysia with opinions, policy options and recommendations on maritime related issues.
- Publishing of findings from research works and related activities such as conferences, seminars and workshops.
- Serving as the focal point for maritime policy research in Malaysia and as a link to other similar organisations nationally, regionally and internationally.
- Becoming the national resource and reference centre for maritime affairs.
Research at MIMA
Throughout the years, MIMA has carried out research on numerous maritime issues. The spread of issues is determined by MIMA's research structure which encompass maritime economics and industry, ocean law and policy, coastal and marine environment and maritime security and diplomacy. In addition research at MIMA has always been guided by continuous consultations with the public and private sector to identify priority research areas and ensure that research activities at MIMA are relevant to the needs of the maritime community at large.
MIMA's research structure allows it to adopt a thematic approach in its research. The research themes provide an aegis under which research projects could be undertaken and ensures that MIMA fulfills its responsibilities to the government while allowing MIMA the independence to pursue ideas or topics of its own interest. The thematic approach also provides room for long term research in specific areas such as assisting in the formulation of a national ocean policy or the development of a nationwide database for port and shipping. In overall terms MIMA's research themes are reflected in the five research centres which form the core of MIMA's research.
Many of MIMA research projects are completed within a one-year fiscal cycle. In some instances research are conducted to fulfil the immediate needs of the Government of Malaysia in subjects such as the management of the Straits of Malacca, the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea and its implications to Malaysia. Short term research activities also include undertaking consulting work for national and regional organisations.
MIMA uses many methods in its research. To augment conventional research approaches (surveys, literature reviews, interviews, seminars and conferences etc.) MIMA also conducts regular workshops and small group discussions or brainstorming sessions in its research. Such activities are useful for unearthing and introducing new ideas and concepts. MIMA has successfully employed these methods in introducing concepts such as integrated maritime enforcement, prevention of incidents at sea agreement and state of the marine environment reporting.
Training and Awareness Building
Besides conducting research activities, MIMA is also entrusted with the task of imparting knowledge, building capacity and awareness on maritime matters to specialist groups and the general public. This involves organising training programmes and activities in subjects such as maritime economics and maritime law and commerce. MIMA has successfully conducted training courses and workshops on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS), Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits (UCP 500), maritime delimitations and various aspects of maritime economics.
One of the highlights of training courses conducted by MIMA for two consecutive years is the 'International Training Course on Strategic Management of the Maritime Sector for Officials from CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) Countries', held from 19th to 30th July 2010 and 23rd May to 3rd June 2011. This course was held as part of the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) through which Malaysia shares its development experience and expertise with other developing countries. The two-week course which was facilitated by MIMA senior researchers and renowned experts in various maritime areas provided an overview of the maritime sector, with an emphasis on the management and administration of the maritime sector.
MIMA has also conducted international training courses under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) under Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia. Through courses and training programmes under MTCP, Malaysia shares its development experience and expertise with other developing countries to promote South-South cooperation. MIMA held two courses on Strategic Management of the Maritime Sector in July 2010 and June 2011, and on Managing Non-Traditional Maritime Security Threats in January 2013 attended by officials from CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) countries. These courses were facilitated by MIMA’s senior researchers and also featured lectures by renowned experts in various maritime areas, field visits, group discussions and country presentations by the course participants.
As part of MIMA's commitment in raising awareness and imparting knowledge on the marine environment, MIMA celebrated the World Oceans Day on the 12th June 2011 as the co-organiser of the event, which included The National Science Centre, Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Malaysian Society of Marine Science (MSMS). The International theme of the year 2011 and 2012 will be "Youth: The Next Wave for Change" and Malaysia adopted a local theme which was "Join the Wave" - mainly to reach out to youths and get them engaged in marine conservation actions. The events was held to educate and engage the youth on ocean conservation and the importance of marine life to the ecosystems.
Through its training and awareness building activities, MIMA reaches out to maritime stakeholders in raising public awareness on maritime matters, in fulfillment of its motto of 'advancing the frontier of maritime knowledge'.
MIMA has produced many publications as a result of its research efforts. These books, monographs, issue papers and analytical reports are available for public consumption. In addition MIMA also produces client-specific and restricted policy documents such as position statements, policy briefs and policy recommendations. A complete list of MIMA's publications is available from MIMA Resource Centre.