Malaysia won't arrest major figure in N-trafficking ring
Malaysia's leader is questioning US intelligence on this country's role in a global nuke trafficking network.Updated: Feb 17, 2004 16:11 IST
Malaysia's leader is questioning US intelligence on this country's role in a global nuclear trafficking network, and says the man that President George W Bush called its "chief financial officer and money launderer" would not be arrested, for now.
"He is on his feet and free to move around," Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said of BSA Tahir, allegedly a middleman who helped Pakistan's top nuclear scientist sell equipment and know-how to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Malaysia has said Bush is unfairly singling out this Southeast Asian country with his assertions about its role in the network run by the scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.
"There is no such thing as Malaysia's involvement," Abdullah told reporters yesterday, when asked to respond to the remarks Bush made in a speech. "We are not involved in any way. I don't know where Bush is getting his evidence from."
The government-controlled New Straits Times newspaper accused Bush of "double standards and hypocrisy" in an editorial today and compared his drive against nuclear proliferation to "the sham of his weapons of mass destruction theory behind the invasion of Iraq."
Bush said Khan and his associates used a company in Malaysia to make parts for centrifuges— which can be used to enrich uranium for weapons— and that front companies had been used to "deceive legitimate firms into selling them tightly controlled materials."
The Malaysian company doesn't deny making the parts, but says it didn't know what they were for.
First Published: Feb 17, 2004 16:11 IST