IN THE BEGINNING…
Participants of the first Biennial General Meeting (1999) in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Some of you may or may not be aware that the Organisation of South East Asian Survey Congress (SEASC) was the brain child of a group of enthusiastic and down-to-earth land surveyors from Down South. The Institution of Surveyors, Australia is a very active and leading survey professional organisation and they hold regular annual meetings and seminars around their Capitol Cities of their States. I recalled when I was a Board Member of the Lembaga Juruukur Tanah, Peninsular Malaysia, in the 1970s and 1980s, I frequently received their invitation to their annual meetings and I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from such kind of meetings and gatherings. Meanwhile, we, the surveyors from South East Asia, have established very close link with the learned surveyors from Down South. In the late 1970s, the Institution of Surveyors, Australia made a variation of rotating their meeting venue among the capitol cities and went beyond Australia to organize their first ever annual meeting in Singapore. They called that meeting and seminar as the SEASC. Obviously they had the support of the surveyors in Singapore and from the nearby countries. I remembered the Organizing Chairman was the late Mr Goh Mia Hoon of SISV.
That was the beginning of the SEASC and it went on VC pretty well at regular intervals of 3 or 4 years. If my memory is correct, the second SEASC was held in Bali with Pa Leo Nardy and Dr Lukman Aziz at the helm. The third one went to Hong Kong. Subsequently, in the 1990s, the fourth and fifth SEASC were organized in Malaysia and Singapore respectively. The then Director General of Surveys cum Chairman of Land Surveyors Board, Dato’ Abdul Majid Mohamed was the Organizing Chairman of the Malaysian SEASC with the full backing of his Deputy, the late Mr Chia Wee Tong. And it was at this particular Congress, a suggestion was expressed that a regional survey organization be established to encompass those bodies or persons in South East Asia whose duties and activities respectively are such as to cause them to be interested in science and practice of Land Surveying and Geomatics.
The responsibility of setting up this organization fell on my shoulders as I happened to have just finished my duty as the Secretary General of the Road Engineering Association of Asia and Australasia (REAAA), an organization involved in road engineering and construction for areas governing the west bank of the Pacific Ocean. With the experience just gained from the running of this regional organization, I took the challenge and I was fortunate also to have my close and personal friends who are prominent surveyors in the South East Asian region. They are the late Mr Wee Soon Kiang of Singapore, Mr Pa Leo Nardy of Indonesia, Mr Frederico Mendela of Philipines, Dr Wicha Jiwalai of Thailand and of course Pengiran Matusin of Brunei. That made my task much lighter as to organize a regional body, I must have the support and contribution of the allied professionals in the member countries.
After the necessary preparation which included the formulation of the Constitution and Regulations, a preliminary meeting amongst the aspirants from member countries was called on 15th March 1995 in Kuala Lumpur. The said meeting endorsed and passed a Resolution that a regional land surveying association known as the ASEAN Federation of Land Surveying and Geomatics (ASEAN FLAG) to be established. With the aims and objectives of:
a. To promote and advance the science, practice and application of land surveying and geomatics for the advancement of mankind and community and to foster regional cooperation and transfer of technology.
b. To encourage communication between persons charged with the technical responsibility for the planning, design and execution of the practice of land surveying and geomatics.
c. To obtain and disseminate among the members, information on land surveying and geomatics and related matters affecting the profession, and to print, sell, publish, issue and circulate the records of transactions of the Federation or any papers, periodicals, books, circulars and other literary undertakings or any extracts therefrom as may seem conducive to any of these objects.
d. To educate and seek improve, extend and elevate the technical and general knowledge of members and persons concerned with land surveying and geomatics.
e. To serve as a focal point for exchange of ideas related to land surveying and geomatics in the ASEAN region.
f. To conduct, encourage and collate research in land surveying and geomatics.
g.To establish, form and maintain an index of available or existing literature and articles of interest in connection with land surveying and geomatics.
h. To cooperate, as may seem conducive to any of these objects, with national and international organizations and to support and supplement their work.
Subsequently, 3 more protem committee meetings were held to work out details. The first one held on 22nd June 1995 in Cibinong-Bogor, Indonesia, during which Dr Lukman Aziz with his good contact, made appointment for the Principal Officers Designate to meet up with the ASEAN Secretary General, Dato’ Singh to submit our application for affiliation with ASEAN as an NGO which was subsequently accorded. The second meeting was on 15th July 1995 in Singapore and third on 28th November 1996 in Kuala Lumpur. Accordingly, in late October 1996, ASEAN FLAG was registered with the Registrar of Societies, Malaysia. A third protem meeting was immediately called on 28th November 1996 in Kuala Lumpur for the purpose of organising the Council to commence the activities of ASEAN FLAG. The principal officers proposed were:
President: Dato’ Abdul Majid Mohamed
Secretary General: Khoo Boo Khean
Treasurer General: Dr Lukman Aziz
The first Council meeting was held on the 3rd of February 1997 at Siam City Hotel, Bangkok with 25 participants from Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Thailand. In this meeting, preparation was made for the launching of ASEAN FLAG which was accordingly and happily done so by the Minister of Land of Corporative Malaysia on 5th May 1997 in the Park Royal Beach Resort, Batu Ferringgi, Penang. Also in this particular meeting, ASEAN FLAG agreed to assume the duty of organizing the future SEASC.
The 2nd Council meeting was held in conjunction with the launching of ASEAN FLAG in Penang. The President, Dato’ Majid, announced that ASEAN FLAG has been accepted to be an NGO which would participate in the future meetings of the United Nations of Regional Catagraphic Conference (UN ROC). Meanwhile, an official application for affiliation with FIG was made to then President, Prof. Peter F Dale. The Honorary Secretary General reported that ASEAN FLAG had also been invited by the Institution of Surveyors, Australia to help organize the 6th SEASC in Perth towards the end of 1999.
The 3rd Council meeting with 21 participants was held on 4th November 1997 at the River View Hotel, Bandar Seri Bagawan, Brunei Darussalam. At this meeting, the coordinator of the 6th SEASC, Mr Colin Fuller, briefed the Council that the 6th SEASC would be held in November 1999 in Perth with a theme of “Measure for Measure — Society, the Professions and the New Millenium”. The President of ASEAN FLAG, Dato’ Majid was called upon to act as the Congress Convener. Subsequently, the Council met regularly with good attendance at about 3 month interval with the 4th one at Genting View Resort. It was at this meeting that the ASEAN FLAG homepage was launched by YAM Pengiran Indera Wijaya Pengiran Dr Haji Ismail bin Pengiran Haji Damit through the assistance of Mr Kong Hin Yew of Jurukur Perunding Services Sdn Bhd.
The fifth Council meeting was held on the 18th of October 1998 at the Arcadia Hotel and Resort, Phuket. The sixth Council meeting was held at the Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Australia with the aim of looking into the facilities for the 6th SEASC. The seventh Council meeting was held on the 26th of June 1999 at the Sebana Golf and Marina Resort, Kota Tinggi, Malaysia. A joint meeting was held between the representatives of the Institution of Surveyors, Australia and ASEAN I- LAG to ti nal ize the programmes for the 6th SEASC.
The eighth meeting was conduced on 31st October 1999 at the Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Australia. It was a very well attended Council meeting as it was held in conjunction with the 6th SEASC. While there, ASEAN FLAG’s first Biennial General Meeting was held and Dato’ Majid was elected as the President for the second term and I was elected to continue on as the Secretary General.
The ASEAN FLAG grew from then, having meetings at various interesting places in different countries regularly at about 3 months apart, each time with good paper presentation, fellowship and other social activities such as golf. The rest is history. Let me end here and wish ASEAN FLAG a successful journey to continue serving the region and humanity.