Friday, February 20, 2004

Malaysia Lodges Protest of Bush's
Speech on Nuclear Network

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia lodged a protest with the U.S. government over President George W. Bush's speech last week saying a Malaysian factory produced parts for an illegal international network selling nuclear technology and equipment.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry gave U.S. charge d'affaires Robert Pollard a protest note yesterday, Ilan Kovan, an information officer at the ministry, said.
"Malaysia refutes any suggestion that one company in the country, SCOPE, is involved with an international network which supports the illegal production of centrifuges," the ministry said in a statement that was given to Pollard in the form of a note. "Malaysia feels offended that it has been unfairly and deliberately targeted by President Bush, thus tarnishing its track-record on the issue of non proliferation."
The protest came after Bush said in a speech at the National Defense University last week that a Malaysian factory had been used by a network led by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to manufacture parts for centrifuges that can enrich uranium for nuclear bombs. Qadeer has confessed to selling nuclear secrets.
The speech "made several undue references to Malaysia," the statement said. "We take exception that Malaysia has been deliberately singled out in the speech when President Bush had also clearly stated that other necessary parts were purchased through network operatives based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, yet he failed to name those countries hosting them."
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah has denied the country is involved in nuclear proliferation. Malaysian police earlier this month said initial investigations into the parts that were made by Scomi Group Bhd. unit Scomi Precision Engineering Sdn., or SCOPE, found they may be used in petrochemical, water-treatment and health-care equipment.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based Gulf Technical Industries, which bought the components in question, did not disclose to SCOPE what the parts would be used for, the government said.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Stephanie Phang in Kuala Lumpur at sphang@bloomberg.net


Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"