DAP calls for independent inquiry into Malaysia’s role in global nuclear black market as Hamid Albar’s allegation of “malicious” foreign media reports and the IGP’s “clearing” of Scomi Precision Engineering (SCOPE) of any wrongdoing have both been rendered untenable by Bush’s speech on the nuclear black market  yesterday which was peppered with references to Malaysia

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangThursday): DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to establish an  independent inquiry into Malaysia’s role in global nuclear black market as the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed  Hamid Albar’s allegation of “malicious” foreign media reports and the Inspector-General of Police’s “clearing” of Scomi Precision Engineering (SCOPE) of any wrongdoing have both been rendered untenable by United States President Bush’s speech on the nuclear black market  yesterday which was peppered with references to Malaysia. 

On Monday in Kota Tinggi, Hamid described as “malicious” foreign media reports implicating a Malaysian company in the probe over the supply of nuclear centrifuge components. 

He said the reports based on misinformation, which had deliberately implicated SCOPE with illegal international nuclear arms syndicates, were a  calculated move by the foreign media to tarnish Malaysia’s image. 

Hamid said: “It is clear that the foreign media such as the New York Times had tried to portray Malaysia as a country involved in the supply of materials for nuclear proliferation and weapons of mass destruction.” 

This was three days after the mainstream media had blazoned the front-page headline “Police probe clears SCOPE.  Nuclear allegation: Firm could not have made anything illegal” and carried the report quoting the Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Omar as declaring that initial investigations have cleared SCOPE “of any wrongdoing” and endorsing  the finding that “it was unlikely that SCOPE could have used the materials supplied to it to build parts of anything illegal, such as components for a nuclear centrifuge system”. 

Two days earlier, in his first statement on SCOPE and swirling international  allegations that it had supplied components for centrifuges used to produce nuclear weapons, between 2002 and 2003, as part of the global nuclear black market of the father of Pakistani atomic bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, Bakri had said that Malaysia did not have the expertise to produce components for nuclear weapons and that no local company had produced nor had the ability to produce “uranium centrifuges”. 

However, both Hamid and Bakri’s statements have been torn to shreds by United States President Bush’s  speech on Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation in Washington yesterday afternoon (or early this morning Malaysian time) where Malaysia was mentioned at least five times as an important cog in Khan’s wheel of international nuclear supermarket. 

Bush said:

“As a result of our penetration of the (Khan’s)  network, American and the British intelligence identified a shipment of advanced centrifuge parts manufactured at the Malaysia facility. We followed the shipment of these parts to Dubai, and watched as they were transferred to the BBC China, a German-owned ship. After the ship passed through the Suez Canal, bound for Libya, it was stopped by German and Italian authorities. They found several containers, each forty feet in length, listed on the ship's manifest as full of ‘used machine parts.’ In fact, these containers were filled with parts of sophisticated centrifuges.”

Earlier, Bush said:

“Khan's deputy -- a man named B.S.A. Tahir -- ran SMB computers, a business in Dubai. Tahir used that computer company as a front for the proliferation activities of the A. Q. Khan network. Tahir acted as both the network's chief financial officer and money launderer. He was also its shipping agent, using his computer firm as cover for the movement of centrifuge parts to various clients. Tahir directed the Malaysia facility to produce these parts based on Pakistani designs, and then ordered the facility to ship the components to Dubai. Tahir also arranged for parts acquired by other European procurement agents to transit through Dubai for shipment to other customers.”

This is what Bush said of the present situation:

“Mr. Tahir is in Malaysia, where authorities are investigating his activities. Malaysian authorities have assured us that the factory the network used is no longer producing centrifuge parts. Other members of the network remain at large. One by one, they will be found, and their careers in the weapons trade will be ended.”

Either Bush is right  about Malaysia’s significant role in Khan’s global nuclear black market network while  Hamid and Bakri are wrong, or Bush is wrong while Hamid and Bakri are right.  Even before Bush’s speech yesterday, there is already the most unsatisfactory and shocking  spectacle of Malaysia being internationally identified by the international media as  playing an important role in Khan’s international nuclear black market while there is a  completely different and  opposite picture at home, with the Malaysian media carrying statements by government leaders exonerating SCOPE and the country of any wrondoing. 

What should be a matter of concern is not just Bush’s speech yesterday, but also the statement  by the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei  who had said   that  “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 view of  El Baradei’s statement  and Bush’s speech directly implicating Malaysia in Khan’s global nuclear black market network, especially as there is the additional issue of the  role of  Abdullah’s son, Kamaluddin Abdullah Badawi, the major shareholder of Scomi, the parent company of SCOPE which had been  alleged to be involved in Khan’s nuclear underground network, there is no other honourable option available to the Prime Minister in the interests of the credibility and integrity of the government and nation but to institute an independent inquiry into  the serious allegation of  Malaysia’s role in Khan’s nuclear black market.

Or is the Foreign Minister going to lodge a formal protest with the United States Government by summoning the US Ambassador to Malaysia, Marie T. Huhtala to castigate the US President for his untruthful, baseless and “malicious” references to Malaysia in his speech on weapons of mass destruction proliferation at the National Defense University in Washington yesterday?


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman