To his credit Malaysia’s new PM Abdullah Badawi has called for the investigators into the involvement of his son’s company in Pakistan’s illicit nuclear sales to act ‘without fear or favour’ . As I argue in my previous post Malaysia will do well to come clean on this matter and enhance its reputation as a responsible Islamic country.
There have been reports that while Pakistan tried to sell nuclear technology to Malaysia, the then Prime Minister Mahathir declined to take up the offer. Today’s Financial Times gives some details
US security officials were told in May 2001 that Pakistan had approached individuals in Malaysia with offers of co-operation on nuclear issues, a businessman who helped arrange meetings in Kuala Lumpur told the FT yesterday.
He said he arranged meetings in 2001 between a senior Pakistani official close to the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and several Malaysians at hotels. His account suggests Pakistan’s search for a market for its nuclear expertise was not solely in the hands of the scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, but involved Pakistani officials.
Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf strongly denied this yesterday, and it is unclear whether the Malaysian government was aware of the approach.
However, the businessman, who requested anonymity, insisted: “The decision had been made in Pakistan to disperse its nuclear assets – both intellectual and fissile – to important countries in the Islamic world.” He said he was approached to make the contact on Pakistan’s behalf. [FT]
Jeff Ooi’s Screenshots has more details on the Malaysian connection, while another Malaysian blogger, Rajan Rishyakaran points out that the Malaysia press is trying to deflect attention by pointing to a ‘Anglo-German-Singaporean’ involvement. I agree with Rajan when he says that
…i think those companies mentioned are involve(sic), but UK, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and to the lesser extend(sic), Singapore and South Africa had less controls over their economies thus there probably isn’t a political scam in all of this. Malaysia on the other hand has the government’s fingerprints all over (the economy)[Rajan Rishyakaran]