Independent inquiry into the allegation of Malaysia’s role in global nuclear black market involving his son’s subsidiary company, Scomi Precision Engineering (Scope) would be a proper end to Abdullah’s “first hundred days” to underline his commitment to accountability, transparency, public integrity and good governance
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Friday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is to be commended for his stand that the police should investigate without fear or favour the allegation of Malaysia’s role in the global nuclear black market involving his son’s subsidiary company, Scomi Precision Engineering (Scope), building nuclear components for Libya, and his assurance that he would not interfere in the police investigations.
However, as the police is directly under his charge as he is also Home Minister, Abdullah should be mindful of the maxim that “justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done”.
He should therefore ensure a situation where there could be no cause for suspicion or doubt that police investigations could not be thorough or independent as the police could not possibly cause national and international embarrassment to their own Minister, who is also the new Prime Minister of the country.
This is why Abdullah’s agreement to an independent inquiry into the serious allegation of Malaysia’s role in the global nuclear black market involving his son’s subsidiary company, Scomi Precision Engineering (Scope) would not only be the most ideal solution but will be a proper end to Abdullah’s “first hundred days” to underline his commitment to accountability, transparency, public integrity and good governance.
At the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Abdullah should indicate his agreement to the establishment of an independent inquiry and let the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, chair the Cabinet discussion and decision on the composition and terms of reference to investigate and clear Malaysia’s involvement in the global nuclear black market used by Pakistan’s top nuclear atomic scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan to sell Iran, Libya and North Korea nuclear technology.
Such an independent investigation is important as Malaysia must clear its name and clarify its role not only to the national audience but also to the international community.
Today, the Malaysian media has given great prominence, even front-page headline treatment, to reports scoffing at the “exaggerations” about Malaysia’s role in the global nuclear black market while the international media in various parts of the world continue to pin-point Malaysia as one of the important “rogue” centres of the international underground network.
The international media for instance quoted the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei as saying in Vienna yesterday that A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, was just the “tip of an iceberg” in a global nuclear supermarket. He said he was not even sure that Khan was the head of the nuclear black market, stretching across Europe and Asia and created to skirt sanctions for the sale of sensitive technology to countries under embargo.
El Baradei specifically mentioned “the case of Malaysia, where a company had manufactured high-quality centrifuge parts for Libya, showed nuclear know-how had spread to many countries across the world”.
In Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf has pardoned A.Q. Khan after his confession to spreading nuclear technology to other countries, but there is neither domestic nor international credibility to their claim that no one in the Pakistani government was involved or had knowledge of the proliferation.
Malaysia must ensure that any claim after investigations that Malaysia has no role in Khan’s global nuclear black market network would have much greater national and international credibility than Musharraf and Khan’s claims – and this can only come about by an independent and credible investigation without any major police involvement.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman