Malaysia makes strides in ending export of WMDs

A new bill aimed at changing the perception of Malaysia as a dumping ground for weapons of mass destruction, including biological weapons, has been introduced.

Strategic Bill 2010 contains a provision on the control of exports, transferring, transiting and brokering of strategic goods, including arms and related materials as well as other activities that would or could facilitate the design, development or production of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery and other related uses.

The weapons of mass destruction in the bill include biological weapons, biological agents, chemical weapons, toxins and nuclear weapons. Strategic goods refers to goods and technology that can be used in the production of arms and related materials.

There is currently no specific law in Malaysia to control strategic goods that takes into account specific elements and the potentials for the abuse of WMDs by irresponsible groups.

Strategic Bill 2010 has been tabled at the Dewan Rakyat by Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department. Implementation of the law is expected to protect Malaysian exporters from being used as a channel for the supply of illegal strategic goods.

The new law follows a denial late last year by the government of any involvement in the illegal 2008 export of nuclear weapons to Iran. It has been confirmed, however, that a Malaysian national was involved in the export.