Monkey Repellent Wins Best Innovation Award

Monkey Repellent Wins Best Innovation AwardBy Asmahanim Amir
Pix Ikhwan Hashim

BANGI, May 6, 2015 – A neat trick created by  a second year student of the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment might just be the solution to the problem of monkeys roaming the residential colleges in the campus of The National University of Malaysia (UKM).

Muhammad Solihin Hamzah garnered the best innovation award in conjunction with the Ungku Omar Residential College (KUO) International Food Fiesta and Innovation Exhibition held here.

Muhammad Solihin, who devised a monkey repellent using materials that are easily available, attracted the attention of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), Prof Datin Dr Noor Aziah Mohd Awal who picked the entry for the best innovation award.

He used ground nuts and shrimp paste, or belacan to ward off the apes which often annoyed students at the hostel with their antics.

“I stay at KUO and we are always agitated by monkeys that come into the residential colleges. So I searched for methods that can be used to scare off monkeys from entering the college.

“So I started reading and researching of stuff that monkeys find repugnant. I found that we can use many kinds of material, but the cost would be prohibitive, except peanuts and belacan,” he said.

He added the monkeys find belacan revolting because it can cause skin irritation.

“So I tried to mix the nuts and belacan and put the blend into plastic bottles that have holes in them. I’ve been using one particular recipe of belacan because not all shrimp paste in the market have the desired effect on the simians.

“When I put the bottles filled with nuts and belacan at the corridors of KUO, I found that the monkeys stayed away from the area. So, for me, it’s success,” he explained.

He said, as the belacan has a very strong odour, the bottles of shrimp paste were placed under trees ringing the residential colleges.

“To bring this innovation to the next level, I need to do further research and find out the exact composition of this particular type of shrimp paste. There might be other methods that can be used in the same way which I intend to find out later.

Muhammad Solihin said he took about a month to research the mixtures to come up with the Monkey Repellent.

Meanwhile, Project Director of the Fiesta, M Dineshni Muthukumar said 19 entries were exhibited at the innovation display, with exotic titles as Rain Water Harvesting, Monkey Repellent, Recycling Spoon Lighting and Seaweed Original Food.

“Besides that, we also have a food exhibition representing nine countries, including Malaysia, Jordan, Libya, Iran, Iraq, China, Kazakhstan and Japan,” she said.

Undergraduate and post graduate students from various faculties prepared the delicacies for the exhibition organised by KUO and it was the latest in the series of the Food Paradise Exhibition, held last year.