‘Trade via Malaysia impossible’
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia would not knowingly allow North Korea to run illegal arms operations out of the country, international relations experts said yesterday.
Universiti Utara Malaysia College of Law, Government and International Studies Professor Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said it was “impossible” for North Korea to run a network of arms operations out of Malaysia as the authorities would not allow it.
“If they do run a network, surely Malaysian authorities would stop it. I believe Malaysia will provide all necessary cooperation if the United Nations (UN) wants to further investigate the matter,” he told the New Sunday Times.
He said the media should not insinuate such allegations, adding that such serious claims should be backed up with proof.
Reuters had reported that the North Korean intelligence agency ran an arms operation out of Malaysia via a company called Glocom, identifying two companies linked to the trade as International Global System and International Golden Services.
The article quoted a draft UN Security Council (UNSC) report that stated that North Korea was evading internal sanctions by having a network of overseas companies, including in Malaysia.
International law expert Dr Sufian Jusoh said it was no easy job for a country to set up arms operations in Malaysia, given the tight security in the country.
“It’s very difficult to overcome our authorities, which include the police, Customs and Bank Negara. They need documentation to be able to pass through our system, which is stringent.
“We cannot jump to conclusions (that we are working in cohorts with North Korea). Having ties with them is our choice as a sovereign nation... many other countries have diplomatic ties with North Korea.”
International relations expert Oh Ei Sun said Malaysia had always tried to be open in international business dealings.
“But sometimes, we simply do not possess the wherewithal of some advanced countries that can afford to and have the technology and information to vet through every single business entity and transaction to detect possible violations of such sanctions.
“We try our best to comply and enforce when we are passed such information, but to expect us to single-handedly, proactively do the vetting is a tall order,” said the principal adviser at the Pacific Research Centre.
Earlier yesterday, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Malaysia rejected claims it may have violated sanctions imposed by the UN on North Korea.
“Malaysia categorically rejects any such insinuation. The country views this with serious concern. Malaysia highly values the important work being carried out by the UNSC Sanctions Committee on North Korea, established pursuant to Resolution 1718 (2006) and the UNSC Panel of Experts, established pursuant to Resolution 1874 (2009), by ensuring the full implementation of all the relevant resolutions.
“Malaysia has provided the required responses to the queries raised by the Panel of Experts, and will fully cooperate with these bodies as it has done in the past.”
Following the Reuters report, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had said police were aware of the issue, adding that International Global Systems and International Golden Services were in the process of being “struck off” the list of companies registered under the Companies Commission of Malaysia.