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Malaysian tertiary level students and their understanding, knowledge and perception of nanotechnology.

Karim, Md. Ershadul; Akhter, Shafia; Munir, Abu Bakar; Muhammad-Sukki, Firdaus; Hoque, Kazi Enamul; Yasin, Siti Hajar Mohd; Abu-Bakar, Siti Sarah; Abu-Bakar, Siti Hawa; Bani, Nurul Aini; Wirba, Asan Vernyuy; Mas'ud, Abdullahi Abubakar


Md. Ershadul Karim

Shafia Akhter

Abu Bakar Munir

Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki

Kazi Enamul Hoque

Siti Hajar Mohd Yasin

Siti Sarah Abu-Bakar

Siti Hawa Abu-Bakar

Nurul Aini Bani

Asan Vernyuy Wirba

Abdullahi Abubakar Mas'ud


Nanotechnology, being an emerging and enabling technology, can be utilised to exploit burgeoning opportunities in all aspects. Almost every kind of material with any feature can theoretically be developed using nanoscale technology and that is why countries around the world have been working relentlessly to exploit this. History suggests that unless the society and community welcome any newly introduced technology, that technology will have to embrace failure. Thus, the assessment of public perception towards emerging and enabling technologies like nanotechnologies is a routine activity in developed countries. Despite the fact such perception assessment activities were conducted in different countries, this has so far been not tested in Malaysia even though exploitation of nanotechnologies is a priority concern for the government. In this backdrop, this study aims to examine and assess the knowledge, understanding and perception of five public Malaysian university students towards nanotechnologies and their applications. Using a questionnaire survey, this study collected data from 530 respondents, of which 512 were analysed. Even though there are some general concerns as to the risk, safety and Halal application of the nanotechnology, a very good number of the students, irrespective of gender, nationality, religion, level of study, etc. are aware of the term 'nanotechnology' and could identify the benefits of nanotechnologies to them as direct consumers. Majority of the respondents are also aware of the presence of a number of nano-enhanced consumer products including cosmetic, automobile and computer accessories in the local market and more than 80% of the respondents favour the application and introduction of this technology in different sectors. Although the result of this study shows that the Malaysian tertiary level students, being the concerned segment of the society, are in favour of the usage and application of nanotechnology, adequate cautions should be taken by the policy makers to ensure the human health and environmental implications of engineered nanomaterials. Furthermore, attempts should be taken to make nanotechnology and its applications popular among the consumers by way of, inter alia, community outreach program, wide mass media coverage and introduction of specific academic course materials in different stages.


KARIM, M.E., AKHTER, S., MUNIR, A.B., MUHAMMAD-SUKKI, F., HOQUE, K.E., YASIN, S.H.M., ABU-BAKAR, S.S., ABU-BAKAR, S.H., BANI, N.A., WIRBA, A.V. and MAS'UD, A.A. 2017. Malaysian tertiary level students and their understanding, knowledge and perception of nanotechnology. Journal of advanced research in social and behavioural sciences [online], 6(1), pages 52-67. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 18, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 27, 2017
Publication Date Jan 31, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 9, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 9, 2017
Journal Journal of advanced research in social and behavioural sciences
Print ISSN 2462-1951
Electronic ISSN 2462-1951
Publisher Akademia Baru Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 52-67
Keywords Nanotechnology and nanoscience; Enabling and emerging technology; Public perception; Policy and regulation; Risk and safety
Public URL
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