Malaysia has expertise to detect, analyse VX Nerve agent

28 Feb 2017 / 12:28 H.

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 at the Chemistry Department of the Science Faculty, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Prof Dr 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.
Abdul Rahim has more than 20 years of experience in Forensic science and had served as a chemist at the Department of Chemistry Malaysia 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 post-mortem report, if they are not registered.
"We also have sophisticated technology to detect poison and chemical residues such as High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machine, UV Detector and Gas chromatography. So, there should not be any doubts," he said when contacted by Bernama.
Abdul 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 Tan Sri 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, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was at the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) at 8am on Feb 13 to board a flight to Macau an hour later when suddenly two women appeared before him and wiped his face with the palms of their hands which contained a poisonous liquid.
Jong-nam, sought help at a customer service counter at the airport, and was rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way. He had come to Malaysia on Feb 6 and carried a passport bearing the name Kim Chol. — Bernama

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