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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Malaysia have expertise to detect, analyse VX nerve agent

UTM lecturer says there is no reason to doubt the investigation and analysis on the case by Malaysia's chemists as their expertise is recognised worldwide.
hazmat-malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the expertise and technology to detect and analyse the VX nerve agent which was used in the killing of Kim Jong Nam despite not having the experience in handling the chemical.
A lecturer from the science faculty, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Prof Abdul Rahim Yacob said there was no reason to doubt the investigation and analysis on the case by Malaysia’s chemists as their expertise is recognised worldwide.
He expressed confidence of the department’s capability to carry out an analysis of the chemical weapon.
Rahim has more than 20 years of experience in forensic science and has served as a chemist at the Malaysian chemistry department for 10 years.
“It is compulsory for chemists to register every year with the Malaysian Institute of Chemistry (IKM). This is because they are bound by the Chemists Act 1975, where they cannot verify or issue any report, like a post-mortem report, if they are not registered.
“We also have sophisticated technology to detect poison and chemical residues such as the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machine, UV detector and gas chromatography. So, there should not be any doubts,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
Rahim said with the availability of local expertise, there was no need for Malaysia to engage foreign expertise to study the use of the toxic material in the case.
The chemical weapon could paralyse the nervous system and anyone in contact with it could die in half an hour due to breathing failure.
Last Friday, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said that the chemical “Ethyl S-2-Diisopropylaminoethyl Methylphonothiolate” or VX nerve agent was used in Jong Nam’s murder.
Jong Nam, who is the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, arrived in Malaysia on Feb 6, and was at klia2 to catch a 10.30am flight to Macau on Feb 13 when he was attacked by two women. One sprayed a rapid-acting poison at him while the other covered his face with a piece of cloth.
He sought help at the customer service counter and was treated at the airport clinic but died on the way to Putrajaya Hospital.
Police have since nabbed four suspects to facilitate investigations. They are a Vietnamese named Doan Thi Huong, Siti Aisyah (Indonesia), Muhammad Farid Jallaludin (Malaysia) and Ri Jong Chul (North Korea).
Four other male suspects, all North Korean, fled the country on the same day of the murder. They have been identified as Ri Ji Hyon, Hong Song Hac, O Jong Gil and Ri Jae Nam.
Two other North Korean suspects, Hyon Kwang Song, who is the second secretary with the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Air Koryo employee, Kim Uk Il, are also wanted by police to help in the investigations. -FMT

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