Friday, January 16, 2009

The ghost of Scomi past coming to haunt Abdullah


It seems now Abdullah was actually nervous of Muhyiddin's announcement that the US-Malaysia FTA negotiation was temporarily stalled.

As Rocky had highlighted, this morning's Singapore Straits Times and CNN news broadcast reported US State Department had designated Shah Hakim Shahzanim Zain, chief executive officer (CEO) and major shareholder of Scomi Group, together with 12 other individuals, including Dr Abdul Qader Khan under sanction for their alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation in 2004.

He must have sensed the special parliamentary seating on Monday could backfire on him. Looks like the ghost from Scomi past have come back to haunt Abdullah.

This blog have extensively written on the Scomi nuclear incident. My last piece was on June 23rd, 2008 just before BSA Tahir was freed. The Scomi nuclear have long been seen as the sword of democles on Abdullah's head and influence to shape his policies in a whole lot of areas, particularly on security and strategic issues.

With this new development, there is no other choice for Abdullah but to resign or await Agong to constitiutionally remove him immediately. He is a security threat to the nation.

And Tony Fernandez ... can kiss his airport goodbye and ready for the wrath of Banks to befall on him. Now we know why the hurry.

Scomi Nuclear Incident

This happened after Abdullah came to office at the end of 2003 and few months before calling for the 2004 General Election.

When it happened, Abdullah had denied his son was involved and claimed Kamaluddin had no knowledge of the nuclear deal. The police cleared them both but the Kaspadu partner and Scomi shareholder, BSA Tahir was held under ISA. Kamaluddin and Shah Hakam was spared.

Source from a corporate personality said Abdullah lied. Kamaluddin, Shah Hakam and BSA Tahir have long been hawking the Libyan nuclear deal about town before his father took office.

Scomi's story in their denial was they were informed the investment was for making machine parts for oil and gas exploration application. However, engineers in the oil and gas industry consulted have long refute the need for such high precision low tolerance tool for oil and gas.

Despite the denial, in August 2006, executives of Mitutoyo Corporation, was held by authorities for illegally supplying to Scomi subsidiary, SCOPE machines capable of making nuclear centrifuge.

Why Now?

The new development is rather strange.

It was reported by CNN in 2004 that the American were supportive of Pakistan's pardon of Abdul Qader Khan, believed to be the mastermind of Pakistan's underground nuclear program and is alleged to have link with BSA Tahir. It may be viewed as an American and Israeli retaliation.

The coincidence of the announcement few days after the special parliamentary seating seemed uncanny. It seemed to be a threat to Abdullah.

If in the past, the threat is on BSA Tahir, now it is on Shah Hakam. It's obviously getting nearer to Kamaluddin.

As a father who is overly protective of his children, Abdullah may not risk his son. Conspiracy theorist have long speculated that it is in the interest of the American and its regional allies to have Abdullah remain as a puppet leader. Will this further reinforce speculation that Abdullah will remain beyond end of March?

From another angle, it could be seen as external forces exterting more pressure on Abdullah. The powers at be are flexing their muscle to prove their influence on the outcome of the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

In the last few days of campaigning, Anwar Ibrahim's credibility have been questioned openly by Ezam. And since the Gaza Holocaust, his close alliance with the Americans have been under scrutiny. He was alleged to be present and a signatory to the Annapolis Summit to reaffirm Israel's sovereign status and set aside people-elected Hamas for PLO.

It could be perceived to salvage the political image and loss credibility of another of their stooge. Could it be a pressure to save Anwar when his Feb 5-6th High Court sodomy trial begin?

The nuclear incident have been long viewed by insiders within Abdullah's network of loyalists for his change of stance to pally to American and Singaporean interest, compromising national strategic interest in economic, investment, infrastructure and security, and surprising liberal socio-political agenda.

This new development confirms the long held suspicion that Abdullah, Son & Partner have betrayed the country and put the national security and interest at risk.

The only course of action left is for the immediate removal of Abdullah or demand his immediate resignation. This development provide a legitimate basis for the DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda under Article 43(4) of the Constitution to remove Abdullah from office.

The full Straits Times and archive of CNN reports to follow.

----------------------------

Straits Times, Jan 16, 2009

Sanctions on Scomi chief

Scomi chief among 13 on US list for alleged role in nuclear proliferation
By Leslie Lopez, South-east Asia Correspondent



KUALA LUMPUR: The decision by the United States to slap sanctions on a Malaysian businessman with close ties to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's son is set to revive debate over the country's role in the clandestine nuclear-smuggling network headed by rogue Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Mr Shah Hakim Shahzanim Zain, chief executive officer (CEO) and major shareholder of Malaysian engineering powerhouse Scomi Group, was designated by the US State Department together with 12 other individuals, including Dr Khan, for their alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation.

Also designated was Mr Buhary Syed Tahir, a Sri Lankan businessman and a Malaysian permanent resident, who was recently released by the Malaysian government after being detained for four years under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The sanctions, which the US State Department said comes after a 'multi-year US government review', mean that the individuals designated by the censure order are banned from doing business with the American government, a US government official told The Straits Times. It also severely limits their access to US government financial assistance.

The sanctions, which were announced this week, also dictate that the individuals designated will have their assets and funds in the US frozen, the official said.

The US sanctions do not apply to listed companies such as Scomi Group. But several bankers say that the unwelcome designation of its CEO and main shareholder by the US could hurt the group's efforts to expand its engineering and manufacturing business overseas.

Its core activities include oil and gas and building monorail systems. Currently, it is pursuing contracts for monorail projects in India and the Middle East.

Mr Shah Hakim did not respond to a request for comment for this report, and the US State Department statement did not detail the grounds on which the Malaysian businessman was designated under the censure order.

But regional intelligence officials said that the businessman's designation is related to fund transfers from Libya and Lebanon to finance the manufacture of centrifuge components manufactured by a Scomi subsidiary.

Ever since the nuclear-smuggling ring was exposed in late 2003, Scomi executives have maintained that they were never involved in any nuclear proliferation activities. They also insisted that the company was misled by Mr Tahir, who was a key associate of Dr Khan, into manufacturing centrifuge parts for unspecified overseas customers involved in the oil and gas industry. Mr Tahir's wife was a one-time shareholder of Scomi.

The Malaysian government at the time also cleared Scomi, in which Datuk Seri Abdullah's only son Kamaluddin is a major shareholder, of any wrongdoing.

The Malaysian government has yet to publicly comment on the latest sanctions.

But diplomats and regional intelligence officials said that the US sanctions have raised doubts over those assertions.

The nuclear smuggling ring was exposed in October 2003 when European intelligence officials intercepted a Libya-bound shipment of centrifuge components produced by a Scomi subsidiary.

After a lengthy international investigation, Mr Tahir was detained under the ISA, after the Malaysian police discovered that he secretly brought seven Libyan technicians to be trained to operate high-technology machines at the Scomi-run facility to produce centrifuge parts.

Mr Tahir was released last year after the Malaysian government declared that he no longer posed a security threat to the country. He continues to reside in Malaysia.
---------------------------

CNN World 5th February, 2004

U.S. supports nuclear pardon

From CNN's Islamabad Bureau Chief Ashhar Quraishi

ISLAMABAD (CNN) -- The United States has supported Pakistan's presidential pardon of Abdul Qadeer Khan, after the father of the nation's nuclear program admitted he gave nuclear weapons technology to other countries.

President Pervez Musharraf's decision to pardon Khan was an internal Pakistani matter, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Musharraf said controls are now in place to stop such proliferation, and no one in his government was involved in the transfer of the technology, which went to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

However, an International Atomic Energy Agency official told CNN that IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei had called the Khan revelations "just the tip of the iceberg."

The official added that ElBaradei is aware of individuals and companies in at least five other countries in Africa, Europe and Asia in the business of proliferating of nuclear technology.

Separately, former IAEA weapons inspector David Albright has urged the United States to put pressure on Pakistan to be more open with the agency.

Albright, now president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), told CNN Friday that the IAEA should be able to interview Khan and other Pakistan scientists involved in the counry's nuclear weapons program.

He said it was likely that people higher up in the Pakistan government knew of Khan's activities.

Khan's confession and subsequent pardon by Musharraf "may be necessary, but it's still a charade," he told CNN.

"There are so many questions unanswered," he said, such as exactly what technology was transferred, when it was transferred, and to whom.

And in a speech in Washington Thursday, U.S. Director of Intelligence George Tenet said Khan's transfer of nuclear technology "was shaving years" off the time some countries needed to develop nuclear weapons.

"His network is now answering to the world for years of nuclear profiteering," Tenet said.

Boucher said that "from the U.S. point of view, the broader picture is to stop the proliferation activity and to help the international community get at the networks that have been involved."

"What's important here is that the government of Pakistan take steps to make sure that Pakistan won't be a source of proliferation, either with materials, equipment, or especially with the intangibles, the expertise that can help other countries develop weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"We see Pakistan taking steps that go to that end."

He added, "The matter of punishment, the matter of what to do about the individuals involved, is a matter for Pakistan to decide."

Musharraf said Khan and the scientists who worked for him were motivated by "money."

He granted the pardon for Khan Thursday after it was recommended by Pakistan's Federal Cabinet.

Khan accepted responsibility and apologized Wednesday in a statement broadcast on Pakistani television.

"Much of it is true," he said of the allegations.

He said he was shown evidence of proliferation activities over the past two decades by Pakistanis and foreign nationals.

"The investigation has established that many of these activities did occur and that these were inevitably initiated at my behest."

He expressed "the deepest sense of sorrow and anguish," saying he knew that actions that jeopardized Pakistan's national security had traumatized the people of Pakistan. "I have much to answer for it," he said.

Khan took all the blame, saying Musharraf's government was unaware of what he was doing.

"There was never ever any kind of authorization for these activities by the government. I take full responsibility for my actions and seek your pardon," he said, adding that such activities "will never take place in the future."

The televised apology came shortly after he met with Musharraf.

The government said Khan had confessed to spreading nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya up until the year 2000.

Military officials said nuclear weapons-related designs and components were smuggled to Iran in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Nuclear technology was transferred to North Korea and Libya in the 1990s.

The military officials said their information was based on debriefing sessions with Khan. In addition they said they had independent confirmation of some of the transfers.

Khan met and briefed scientists from the other countries and oversaw a web of transfers, they said.

The officials said direct shipments of nuclear hardware were made from Pakistan through Dubai and the Persian Gulf to North Korea.

The hardware and technology, they said, was smuggled from Khan Research Lab, a nuclear facility, outside of Islamabad.

They said uranium enrichment centrifuges were produced in Malaysia based on a Pakistani design.

There were a number of middle men involved in the transfers, the officials said, including a man now in custody in Malaysia as well as German and Dutch citizens.

There were mixed shipments that included new centrifuges and centrifuge parts.

Khan wrote a letter to Iran to destroy facilities once Pakistani officials opened an investigation.

The IAEA said Khan's statements mean the "cat is out of the bag" and the world now knows there is a black market for nuclear technology, the IAEA official said.

The IAEA's top priority now is to find out where else this nuclear knowledge, nuclear weapons blueprints, and other capability have gone and how far it has spread, CNN was told.

Diplomats close to the IAEA told CNN Malaysia is a major center for the nuclear proliferation business, and named an engineering company they believe is involved.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi said Thursday police were still investigating these allegations, Bernama news agency reports. Abdullah's son is a shareholder in the company, the diplomats said.

The Malaysian company named in the investigation, Scomi Precision Engineering (Scope), is part of the Scomi Group, which has Abdullah's son Kamaluddin Abdullah as a major shareholder.

-- CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour contributed to this report

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The timing of this revelation is good. This will ensure Pak Lah to step down by March.

Anonymous said...

Finally the AirAsia bubble will burst. Goodbye cheap airfares. Hope MAS will continue to provide cheap fares and duplicate the AirAsia model. If you need new planes, buy some Airbus from AA. They maybe going cheap soon. Just don't be greedy.
Goodbye KLIA EAST.

HeroTamil said...

Anon 6.35pm, what about their stewardess?? Will they lelong that too..if it comes to it?? ;)

satD said...

Bet he'll do a Khairy - sell his shares and quit the company....(transfer everything to a proxy)

:)

berasiam said...

Shah Hakim pun menantu orang ternama bergelar Tun. Mungkin Pak Mertua boleh tolong apa yang patut. Pak mertua pakar pengamal undang-undang, tentu tahu mana lubang untuk menantu boleh bolos. Jual ekuiti tu salah satu pilihan, mungkin juga dia boleh buktikan larangan tu sendiri menyalahi undang-undang dan hak asasi. Kalau dapat buktikan macam tu, silap haribulan, Shah Hakim boleh dapat bayaran macam mertua.

Jangan lepas ni Australia pulak ikut jejak langkah bos USnya dan haramkan Pak Lah masuk sana sudahlah. Tak boleh nak pencen di Perth pulak nanti.

Anonymous said...

We also have to investigate how much Dr Mahathir payed a Jewish lobby to meet up with the President of the US, if proved we need to start proceedings to persecute Dr Mahathir

Hang Tuah

Nazrul Hilmi said...

@ Hang Tuah Celup

But as a matter of fact, the money paid (not "payed") to the lobbyist was not even taxpayers' money, instead it was sponsored by a group of American industrial investors. What is your basis to prosecute Mahathir then? Even Mahathir himself has explained this matter long ago.

Cari fakta dahulu, jangan jadi bodoh menuduh membuta tuli. One more, if you're not even bold enough to use your own ID here, then don't ever call yourself Hang Tuah. Memalukan anak bangsa aje!

A Voice said...

Nazrul

Tku for your comments.

But you have no business telling others to not claim whatever name and for not using ID.

This is my blog and my domain. I DETERMINE it is okay. You do that at your own blog.

Sorry to be straight forward.

My Say