The set up of Malaysian Antarctic Research Programme (MARP) was initiated in November 1997, following the invitation of New Zealand government to Scott Base in Antarctica and the endorsement of Malaysian Cabinet for Malaysia’s involvement in scientific research in Antarctica. The Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) was given the mandate to set up a taskforce to oversee and coordinate the Malaysian Antarctic Research Programme (MARP). The first Malaysian scientific expedition to Antarctica was successfully held in October 1999. As a result, MARP was funded under the 8th and 9th Malaysian Plan (2000-2010) with an allocation of RM 13.7 million to set up and conduct Malaysian research in Antarctica. The National Antarctic Research Centre located in University of Malaya was established on 5th August 2002 as a centre to coordinate the research activities of the members of the programme.
The Malaysian Antarctic Research Program since its inception in 1998 had been well received by the Malaysian scientific community. The research group established in the year 1999 under MARP with 4 scientists have grown to 39 at present. In their research projects they have took postgraduate students who are now working for their Master and Ph.D degrees in their respective universities. There were 34 scientific research expeditions have been undertaken by Malaysian scientists since the first expedition. MARP is progressing greatly and attained achievements in publications, local and International collaborations. In the year 2006, MARP has extended the interest to Arctic. At present, three scientific expeditions has been carried out in Arctic.