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Last Updated: Friday, 13 February, 2004, 11:30 GMT
Malaysia denies US nuclear claim
By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Kuala Lumpur

PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Mr Abdullah questioned the evidence for Malaysia's alleged role
Malaysia has hit back at remarks made by US President George W Bush alleging the country had a role in the trafficking of nuclear secrets.

Mr Bush suggested Malaysia was involved in a network run by the Pakistani nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has questioned the quality of US intelligence into the scandal.

The government-owned New Straits Times newspaper accused Mr Bush of double standards and hypocrisy.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi was adamant. He said there was no such thing as Malaysia's involvement, and he asked where President Bush was getting his evidence.

Earlier this week, Mr Bush highlighted the part the country played in plans by Dr Khan to pass nuclear technology to countries like Libya and North Korea.

Mr Bush accused a Malaysian-based businessman, BSA Tahir, of being Dr Khan's financier and chief money-launderer.

Abdullah Badawi said Mr Tahir was not under immediate threat of arrest and was free to move around Malaysia as he wished.

The president also drew attention to Malaysian factories that Mr Tahir commissioned to make parts for the Libyan nuclear programme - factories owned in part by Abdullah Badawi's son.

His company maintains it was not told what the parts were for.

The Malaysian government is clearly concerned to distance the country from the growing scandal.

In an editorial, the New Straits Times accused Mr Bush of hypocrisy for cutting funds to some non-proliferation programmes, while spending more on his country's nuclear weapons.



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