Malaysia ‘may be WMD transit point’

Malaysia is investigating whether ship cargo seized earlier this month included parts for making Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Malaysian police seized the suspected bomb-making equipment on a ship bound from China to the Middle East. Malaysia’s Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was quoted as saying Malaysia was a probable transit point, rather than a destination, for the parts.

The government said that the seizure, made in early March, was not the first. “We are investigating the background of the containers and parts found in the two containers,” Mr Hussein was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying. “It is to determine whether these are possibly parts to help make weapons of mass destruction or nuclear items,” he said. Police said last week they had asked the country’s nuclear agency for a report on the parts seized on the Malaysian-registered ship.

Two containers carrying dismantled equipment were seized at Port Klang, west of the capital Kuala Lumpur, from a ship on its way from China to the Middle East. Mr Hishammuddin said that if the seized containers were housing parts used for making nuclear weapons, it would have serious implications for the country. “First, we need some time to identify the equipment and what it could be used for. Only then can we trace the source,” he said.

But he said that Malaysia was “likely being used as a transit point and not as a destination point for WMD,” according to a report in the Star newspaper. Malaysian authorities said the parts were among items subject to controlled and restricted sale by the UN Security Council and under international law. An investigator said the equipment might be for construction sites but if misused could be used to make a bomb.

Last year Malaysia passed a Strategic Trade Bill banning involvement in any trade of restricted items and Prime Minister Najib Razak said the law would be strictly enforced. – BBC