Sep 14, 2006

SCOMI implicated in nuclear-related exports from Japan cleared, CEO says

If there is a case linking from Japan to SCOMI, how come the previous investigation by Malaysian authorities shown nothing? WHY?!

Extracted from The Star
Malaysian company implicated in nuclear-related exports from Japan cleared, CEO says

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian company that received high-tech measuring devices from a Japanese manufacturer that could be used to build nuclear weapons has been cleared of any wrongdoing, the chief executive said Thursday.

Scomi Group Chief Executive Officer Shah Hakim Zain said the company had been investigated by both local and overseas police. He did not elaborate.

"We have gone through the process,'' said Shah Hakim.

"We have been given a clean bill of health, we are not radioactive. The case is closed as far as we are concerned.'

Last month, Japanese police arrested the former head and other top executives of precision-instruments company Mitutoyo on suspicion of exporting measuring equipment that can be used in making nuclear weapons without proper permits.

They were charged Thursday for violating foreign trade control laws.

Shah Hakim acknowledged Scomi received six machines worth about 1 million ringgit (US$272,220; euro212,539) from Mitutoyo, including two three-dimensional measuring devices.

One had been exported to Dubai, he said, while the other was still in Scomi's hands.

He provided no further details.

The machine maps cylindrical shapes in great detail and cannot be exported without government permission, Japanese officials had said.

High-tech versions of the machine can measure centrifuges used in uranium enrichment.

Tokyo is now considering tightening its export control laws in the wake of several similar trade law violations.

But Shah Hakim - who founded Scomi with Kamaluddin Abdullah, the son of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi - called the device "standard.''

"Its a standard machine. Mitutoyo manufactures and sells (it) everywhere,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Scomi's tooling wing, Scomi Precision Engineering (SCOPE), has also been closed, the company's chief executive said.

The unit had made 25,000 centrifuge parts for enriching uranium that were seized in the Mediterranean en route to Libya in 2003.

The discovery led to the uncovering of a secret network led by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Malaysian police then cleared the company of knowing they were bound for Libya or for nuclear use.

"We do not have more tooling business. SCOPE is closed ... Because of the incident (in 2003), we lost a couple of jobs,'' he told reporters on a tour of Scomi's year-old engineering research center on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Scomi is listed on the country's main exchange and has diversified interests ranging from downstream oil field services to logistics engineering to manufacturing.

Shah Hakim said Kamaluddin is not involved in day-to-day operations, and was now just a financial investor with a 17.2 percent stake in the group. - AP

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