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Nancy ShukriKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Malaysia’s rejection of nuclear weapons will add credibility to future bids by the country to safely adopt nuclear energy, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said today.

The minister pointed out that Malaysia had signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which imposes a total ban on nuclear arms, on the first day it was opened for signature at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, United States, last September 20.

“Malaysia’s long and strong position on the abolition of nuclear weapons will enhance our national credibility for a peaceful, safe and secure utilisation of nuclear energy and nuclear science and technology,” Nancy told Malay Mail Online.

The minister’s remarks came after Malay Mail Online reported that a Malaysian activist, Datuk Dr Ronald McCoy, was one of the founding members of a global grassroots movement, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

“We are proud to commend our fellow Malaysian, Datuk Dr Ronald McCoy, as one of the founding members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) that recently won the 2017 Nobel Prize,” Nancy said.

“ICAN played a critical role in raising global awareness for the abolition of nuclear weapons, which has led to the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations in July 2017”.

The treaty explicitly bans nuclear weapons use, threat to use, development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, transfer, and stationing in another country. For countries that own nuclear weapons who want to sign, the agreement details a process for the destruction of the arms “as soon as possible” in a “legally binding time-bound plan.”

None of the nine nuclear powers — the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — had participated in the negotiations.

Russia and the US reportedly dominate the nuclear arms market. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia had 7,000 nuclear warheads as of January 2017 and the US had 6,800, with the other seven nuclear-armed states possessing much smaller arsenals ranging in the hundreds or dozens.  

Dr McCoy, an 87-year-old retired obstetrician, told Malay Mail Online yesterday that he was also against Malaysia’s plans to develop nuclear energy, questioning how radioactive waste would be disposed of.

The Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation reportedly said last May that Malaysia may have its own nuclear power plant by 2030.