Malaysia endorses initiative against WMD

Obama sharing a light moment with the audience after attending the YSEALI townhall session at Dewan Tunku Canselor in Universiti Malaya.

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia has endorsed an initiative to counter the challenges posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is a response to the creation and transport of WMD as well as related materials worldwide, and is the natural evolution of efforts by the international community to prevent proliferation of such items.

PSI is in line with the implementation of the UN Security Council Presidential Statement of January 1992, which states that the proliferation of WMD constitutes a threat to international security.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the PSI was not new in substance because both countries had been working very closely on that matter. US had asked Malaysia to endorse the PSI when US President Barack Obama met Najib in Bali in November 2011.

"What we are doing today is to formalise it so that there will be a formal relationship.

"This relationship will continue what we have done and also reflects strong will and desire on the Malaysian side, to not only cooperate with the US, but with the international community to stop proliferation of parts for nuclear weapons and WMD," he said, fumbling over the word "proliferation" to the amusement of the press corps.

As he repeated the word three times, trying to get it right, Obama came to his rescue, saying: "It's a hard one."

Najib smiled and replaced proliferation with the word spread.

"I'll get it right, Don't worry," he promised.

Obama welcomed Malaysia's commitment to counter proliferation of WMD, and added that both countries had begun to tighten the links in terms of sharing information, and identifying threats.