The seeds were planted in 1994, when LASAM co-founders Dr. G. Baskaran and Dr. Fuzina Nor Hussein proposed the formation of an Association of Laboratory Animal Science in Malaysia. To begin, a constitution for the fledgling Association needed to be drafted, and to meet that challenge, a Pro-team for the first Laboratory Animal Science Association of Malaysia was brought together, with the following Exco Members: Dr. G. Baskaran as the President, Dr. Fuzina Nor Hussein as the Vice President, Mr. Low Kiat Cheong @ Michael as the Secretary, Mr. Vivian Jacob Gomes as the Assistant Secretary, Dr. Naseem Bibi bt. Malik as the Treasurer, Mr. Leong Kum Loong and Mr. James Thangaprakasam as Committee Members and last but not least, Dr. P.G. Joseph as the Editor. The first meeting was held on 14 May, 1994 at the Animal Resource Center, Institute of Medical Research (IMR), Kuala Lumpur.
On the 14 of July 1994, the first constitution of the Laboratory Animal Science Association of Malaysia (LASAM) or “Persatuan Sains Haiwan Makmal Malaysia” in Malay, was submitted to the Registrar of Society of Malaysia (ROS). That same year, LASAM’s status as an association was approved and allowed to convene for business.
The first official Annual General Meeting and election of the official office bearers was held on 12
October,1995 at Pusat Pengajian Haiwan, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya (UM) with 19 members registering on the day itself. There were 5 members from the UM, 3 members from IMR, 7 members from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), 2 members from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), 1 from the Sungai Buluh Leprosy Centre, Selangor and 1 member from the National University of Singapore (NUS). The elected office bearers were Dr. G. Baskaran, UM as President, Dr. Mohd Zaini Asmawi, USM as Vice-President, Mr. Low Kiat Cheong @Michael, UKM as Honorary Secretary, Mr. Vivian Jacob Gomes, UKM as Hon. Assistant Secretary, Dr. Naseem Bibi Bt. Malik, IMR as the Honorary Treasurer, Mr. Shaari bin Manas, IMR as Hon. Assistant Treasurer, Dr. Afifi Sheikh Abu Bakar, USM as Honorary Editor, with Dr. Azizuddin bin Kamaruddin, UM and Mr. Mat Ali, UKM as Exco Committee Members. Dr. Fuzina Nor Hussein, IMR was elected as Committee Member to replace Dr. Azizuddin bin Kamaruddin, UM on 3 August, 1996.
In the more than 20 years that LASAM has been active, the association has engaged with the community of animal users in Malaysia to ensure that the tenets of Russel and Burch’s Three 3Rs are adhered to. Frequent animal handling and training workshops are held for the benefit of researchers new to animal research, while the skilled users benefit from specialized advanced workshops that are organized. The Annual General Meetings (AGM) bring members together to discuss current needs and concerns, whilst welcoming new members on board. The latest innovations and technologies are then shared with members and researchers at national conferences, where users and experts can have safe and meaningful discourse amongst their peers.
The 22 Annual General Meeting of LASAM was held on 11 July 2017 at Kolej Tun Syed Nasir in Kuala Lumpur. At the event, a scientific seminar was conducted as well, with speakers discussing the impact of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) 2015 on the use of animals for research, and the management of pain in research animals. Tighter regulations and increasing concerns on animal welfare are welcome developments, and LASAM as the association that represents scientists and experts who are most involved with the use of animals in the labs will always make every attempt to be at the forefront of disseminating the latest news in this regard.
During the 22 AGM, a new team of office bearers stepped forward to lead LASAM : Dr. Anisah Noordin, UKM was elected Honorary President, Associate Professor Dr. Goh Yong Meng, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) is Honorary Vice President, Puan Anee Suryani Sued, Agensi Nuklear Malaysia is the Honorary Secretary, Mr. Chee Beng Jin, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) is Honorary Assistant Secretary, Dr. John Shia Kwong Siew, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) is the Honorary Treasurer, Mr. Low Kiat Cheong @ Michael, UKM is Honorary Assistant Treasurer, Dr. Suzita Mohd Noor, UM is the Honorary Editor, and rounding up the team are the Exco Committee Members, Associate Professor Dr. Kiew Lik Voon, UM; Dr. Haryanti Azura Mohamad Wali, UM; Dr.Fuzina Nor Hussein, Mr. Desmond Lee Kok Beng and Ms. Nur Afifah Samsuddin, who are not affiliated with any government institutions.
In 2018, LASAM will organize the 6 National Conference on Laboratory Animal Science (NCLAS) which will continue to address the importance of animal welfare in heightening the quality of research in Malaysia. LASAM is also continuing with its workshops on the inner workings of an IACUC, as more and more Malaysian institutions embrace the need to ensure ethical animal use and care within their premises and amongst their researchers.
We always welcome new members, be they scientists, students, lecturers, laboratory animal technologists, veterinarians, and other users. We invite all who are interested to click on the ‘Membership Application’ link to join us.