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Time to push UN to criminalise chemical, biological weapons use - Teresa Kok

Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 06:45 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP vice chairman Teresa Kok has urged Malaysia to call on the United Nations (UN) to criminalise chemical and biological weapons use, advocating for global elimination.

She emphasised that Malaysia has a moral obligation and duty to pressure the UN and initiate a conversation on countries producing chemical and biological weapons, given its role in the UN Human Rights Council and as a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

"Malaysia holds both a moral duty and authority to propose motions at the United Nations and call for a vote against countries using or harboring chemical and biological weapons.

"You may erase memories, but you cannot erase history and the generational trauma and medical complications endured by the human race.

"There is no justification for using chemical weapons, and the worst-case scenario is when they end up in the hands of terrorists. What will become of the world then?" she said in a statement.

Reflecting on historical instances of chemical weapon use, Kok emphasised the need to eradicate these weapons.

"Nov 30 marks the Day of Remembrance for all victims of Chemical Warfare.

"This year, concerns have heightened with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Israel's actions in Palestine, showcasing crimes against humanity and the enduring impact of chemical weapons on generations," she added.

International laws, such as the CWC, aimed to ban and destroy chemical weapons, and Malaysia, a signatory since 1993, ratified the convention in 2000.

While Malaysia has declared not to own or possess chemical weapons, it is obligated to monitor and verify its chemical industries under the CWC.

"According to the National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC) under 14 Ministries and agencies, Malaysia does not own or possess chemical weapons, old chemical weapons, abandoned chemical weapons and chemical weapons production facilities.

"But as a state party to the CWC, we are duty-bound to monitor and verify our chemical industries and other relating industries which manage or possess certain toxic chemicals, referred to as Scheduled Chemicals."

The plea underscores the gravity of preventing a repeat of history's dark chapter, calling on Malaysia to propose motions at the United Nations and vote against nations harboring or using chemical and biological weapons.

"The use of chemical weapons stems from an idea, from a point of view, from discrimination, from impunity, from corruption and abuses of power.

"From hate speech and planting the seeds of hatred, prejudice and hostility manifests itself to a weapon of mass destruction and we as Malaysians must do the impossible to stop this from happening."

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