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Issue 15
issue pic Farah Suhanah Ahmad Sarji, General Counsel, MEASAT, Malaysia

Ms. Sarji is currently holds the position of General Counsel at MEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn Bhd. Former positions include: Managing Partner, Chambers of Farah Suhanah (Advocates and Solicitors), Selangor, Malaysia; Partner, Zaid Ibrahim and Co.(Advocates and Solicitors), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; within the Attorney-General's Chambers of Malaysia: Deputy Public Prosecutor--Criminal Division, Federal Counsel--Advisory and International Division, Magistrate--Kuala Lumpur Civil Courts; and Director of Bumi Armada Group of Companies.

Her qualifications include: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Law from the University of Kent at Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom (1988); Barrister-at-Law of the Middle Temple, London, United Kingdom (1989); Course on Magistrates skills conducted by the Judicial and Legal Training Institute, Kuala Lumpur (1995); Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya (1996 to date); Program of Instruction for Lawyers (PIL) at the Harvard Law School, Cambridge, USA (2000).

Contributions and Achievements

  • Legal consultant to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded study entitled "Strengthening the Regulatory System for Private Sector Infrastructure in Malaysia" - involving review and recommendations on the regulatory framework and laws in the energy, transport, telecommunications, water, sewerage and solid waste sectors.
  • Legal consultant to the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) study on the impact of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) - involving review of the legislative and regulatory framework in the steel, pharmaceutical and various other industries and sectors in Malaysia.
  • Representative of the Malaysian Government delegation to Inter-Governmental Committee negotiations at the United Nations in Geneva, New York and Nairobi (period between 1992 -1994) on:
    • Framework Convention on Climate Change
    • Framework Convention on Biodiversity
    • Convention on Desertification
  • Representative of the Malaysian Government delegation at ASEAN negotiations on the South East Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) (1995).
  • Author of presentation paper at a seminar organized by Arthur Andersen in Kuala Lumpur in 2001: "ASEAN Free Trade Area and its Implications" .
  • Author of presentation paper at a seminar organized by Arthur Andersen in Kuala Lumpur in 2001: "Strategic Transformation of Public Enterprises - The Changing Landscape of Malaysian Regulatory Reform" .
  • Author of presentation paper at a colloquium organized by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) in co-operation with the Malaysian National Space Agency in Kuala Lumpur in 2004, on the Preliminary Draft Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Space Assets. Paper presented was entitled: "The Protocol in Practice - Perspective of the Satellite Operator".
  • Author of presentation paper at the Outer Space Law Committee session at the 2007 Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA) in Singapore: "Consolidation in the Aerospace Industry: Lean and Mean, or Weak and Bleak?".
  • Author of presentation paper at the 15th Pagnanelli Space Insurance Conference, April 2009 in Venice: "Space Insurance and its Relevant Insurance Implications - MEASAT's Insurance Strategy & Requirements".

1) How did you get started in the satellite business?

I was personally inspired by Mr. Ananda Krishnan, a Malaysian businessman, whose investment group started the MEASAT Satellite business in Malaysia, back in 1994. I joined the MEASAT group of companies in 2003 as General Counsel, this was a significant change (in terms of industry, function and organizational culture) from my prior role as a partner in a private legal practice. MEASAT is currently the sole licensed commercial satellite provider in Malaysia.

2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?

I contributed to the expansion of MEASAT's business and operations since the launch of its first 2 satellites (M1 and M2) prior to 2000. In 2003, MEASAT decided to procure its third satellite (M3) in line with its strategy to support the expansion plans of its key DTH customer, Astro in Malaysia and in the Asia Pacific region. I was involved in the procurement of the satellite and the launch rocket, and the contract management of the program, the insurance policies -- until the successful launch of M3 at the end of 2006. Throughout the period, there had been a need to support the take up of capacity on MEASAT's fleet of satellites, by negotiating and closing transponder lease agreements and various other related contracts with local and international customers; and there were extensive on-going local and international regulatory and compliances requirements to secure and maintain.

3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?

Witnessing the launch of M3 satellite live in Kazakhstan in Dec 2006, together with a group of guests which MEASAT brought to Moscow / Baikonur. After all the hard work and the challenges faced along the 4 years build program, to ensure the satellite is reliable, constructed in accordance with technical specifications per the contract, and within the timeframe and budget of the satellite program, when the ignition finally went off and the rocket soared into the sky in a ball of fire at circa 3am in Baikonur, I experienced satisfaction and elation yet sadness!

4) What was the greatest obstacle?

No event is perceived as an obstacle, only as challenges along the way -- all of which are not insurmountable.

5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?

The satellite industry will remain robust for so long as there is rapid growth of population, human need for connectivity and communicability and need for entertainment hence justifying the need for solutions in telecommunications and DTH services. For example, MEASAT relocated M1, a satellite that had reached the end of its contractual life, into another slot and into inclined orbit, and this satellite is currently providing services in and to the African region. MEASAT renamed this satellite Africasat 1; and MEASAT has plans to replace this satellite and expand our satellite service in this region.

6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?

To be open and flexible in adapting to solutions which are rapidly evolving and transforming in the services provided by your customers, to the end-consumer. As a satellite provider and operator, you have to understand their business rolled out. Advice for a lawyer entering this industry: there has to be a need to always be supportive of the sales and marketing forays, in order to offer pragmatic solutions in the transaction that needs to be documented with the customer.


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Issue No. 15:
Women in Space

Spring 2009

General Editor Introduction

From the Guest Editor

Audrey Allison, Dir., Frequency Management Services, Boeing Shared Services Group

Anita Antenucci, Managing Dir. Houlihan Lokey's Aerospace-Defense-Government

Dr. Wanda M. Austin Pres. & CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Julie Bannerman, Gen.Counsel, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Sharri Berg, Senior V.P., News Operations, Fox News

Leslie Blaker, DataPath, Inc.

Yvonne Brill, Consultant, Satellite Tech. & Space Propulsion Systems

Michelle Bryan, Senior V.P., Human Resources, Intelsat

Dr. Angie Bukley, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering

Catherine Chang, General Counsel & Asst. Company Secretary, AsiaSat

Sabrina Cubbon, Gen. Manager, Marketing, AsiaSat

Yvette Dominguez, Manager, Payload Design Engineering Section, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Chris Ehrenbard, Dir., Broadcast Distribution, CBS

Mary Ann Elliot, Chairman of the Board, Arrowhead Global Solutions, Inc.

Celeste Ford, Founder & CEO, Stellar Solutions, Inc.

Mary Frost, former CEO, GlobeCast America

Eilene Galloway, NASA Pioneer

Carmen González-Sanfeliu, V.P., Latin America & Caribbean, Intelsat

Dawn Harms, V.P., Marketing & Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Ellen Hoff, Pres., W.L. Pritchard & Co., L.C.

Polly Rash Hollis, Satellite Industry Professional

Britt Horncastle, Satellite Consultant

Susan Irwin, Pres., Irwin Communications, Inc.

Barbara Jaffe, Senior V.P., Advanced Technology and Operations, HBO

Christine King, Deputy V.P., Technical Services & Engineering, Lockheed Martin

Betsy Kulick, Newsletter Editor & Corporate Secretary, Mobile Satellite Users Association

Penelope Longbottom, Founder & Pres., Longbottom Communications

Joanne Maguire, Exec. V.P., Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Andrea Maléter, Technical Dir., Futron Corporation

Joan T. Mancuso, Founder & Executive, Broadband International LLC

Dolores Martos, V.P., Sales for Latin America & Caribbean, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Brig. Gen. Susan K. Mashiko, Vice Commander, Space & Missile Systems Center, L.A. Air Force Base

Eileen McGowan, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Intelsat

Olwen Morgan, Development Engineer

Bridget Neville, V.P. & Gen. Manager, Satellite Engineering & Operations, Sirius XM Radio

Christine Paape, V.P., Space Explorers, Inc.

Rhonda Parson, Manager, Occasional-Use Sales & Traffic Division, EchoStar Satellite Services

Maj. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Deputy Dir., National Reconnaissance Office

Jane Petro, Kennedy Space Center Deputy Director

Dr. Nongluck Phinainitisart, D.Eng., Pres., Thaicom PLC

Mary Quagliotti, Retired Major General, Army

Radhika Ramachandran, Ph.D., Counsellor (SPACE) & Technical Liaison Officer

Veena Rawat, Pres., Communications Research Centre, Canada

Joslyn Read, V.P., Regulatory Affairs, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Walda Roseman, Founder & CEO, CompassRose International, Inc.

Farah Suhanah Ahmad Sarji, General Counsel, MEASAT

Jacqueline Schenkel, Founder, Schenkel & Associates, LLC

Kay Sears, Pres., Intelsat General

Gwynne Shotwell, Pres., SpaceX

Marcia Smith, Pres., Space Technology Policy Group, LLC

Pascale Sourisse, Gen. Manager, Land & Joint Systems Division, Thales

Andy Steinem, CEO, Dahl-Morrow International

Nicole P. Stott, Astronaut, NASA

Bambi Taskarelli, Voice/Data Engineer, NBCU

Leslie Taylor, Strategic Planning Division Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Synette Tom, Marketing Dir., Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Marjorie Rhodes Townsend, Satellite Communications Consultant

Diane Tryneski, Senior V.P., Broadcast & Studio Operations, HBO

Diane VanBeber, V.P., Investor Relations, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Intelsat

Barbara Warren, Systems Analyst, International Telecommunication Union

Zhang Yan, Gen. Manager, CITICSat and Chief Rep., Asiasat

UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology: Astronomy Blog

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