Retired Malaysian gynaecologist Datuk Dr Ronald McCoy was instrumental in the founding of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons, a civil-society coalition of 468 organisations in 101 countries that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its work in promoting the adherence to and full implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which has been signed by 53 countries, and drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons
In 1986 he had read about the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which presented nuclear warfare as a medical problem, and as he says, “As doctors, if we cannot cure the health effects of nuclear warfare, we must prevent it and to do that we must eliminate nuclear weapons.” He set up the Malaysian chapter of IPPNW (now renamed to Malaysians Physicians for Peace and Social Responsibility) and in 1996, upon retiring from medical practice, he devoted his life fully to nuclear disarmament.
Inspired by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which later led to the Ottawa Landmine Treaty in 1997, and frustrated by the failure of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review to reach a consensus in 2005, he emailed his colleagues within IPPNW with an idea to set up a similar international campaign to seek nuclear disarmament and thus was the idea of ICAN formed.
Datuk Dr McCoy will speak about his life of campaigning for nuclear disarmament on February 23rd at the Bellevue Hotel on Penang Hill. The hotel itself is rather shabby and forlorn, but it is still a spectacular experience to enjoy the view over George Town at night from its lovely gardens. The price of RM 80 includes a buffet meal provided by the hotel. It does not include the price of going up Penang Hill, which can be done either by the funicular train from Air Itam, or via jeep from the Botanic Gardens. The jeep can be arranged by emailing email@example.com, and if you can make up a party of 4 or 5 people, is not just more convenient but is actually cheaper than taking the train if you are not Malaysian.