Deputy minister: Missing radioactive device not cause for panic

Ida Lim

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman said the police were actively investigating the incident. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — The public need not be alarmed about a missing radioactive dispersal device (RDD) believed stolen this month, said the deputy home minister.

Datuk Azis Jamman said the police were actively investigating the incident.

“So far, everything is under control. There is nothing to be worried about at this moment,” he was quoted saying by local daily The Star.

Azis declined to divulge details of the police’s arrests of suspects, adding that the motive for the incident has not been determined.

He added that the Inspector-General of Police will provide further updates.

“This is the first time that such a case has occurred. It just happened that there is a radioactive element when the incident took place,” he said.

Selangor police chief Commissioner Datuk Pahlawan Mazlan Mansor confirmed to Malay Mail earlier today that a police report was lodged and two arrests were made over the 23kg RDD reportedly worth RM75,000.

However, He declined to confirm whether the duo were subsequently released, as this could jeopardise the police’s investigation.

Mazlan also confirmed both men arrested were employees of the company responsible for the transportation of the radioactive device.

The New Straits Times (NST) reported today that the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and the police were looking into the disappearance of the RDD after it went missing during its journey from Seremban, Negri Sembilan to Shah Alam, Selangor.

The report said two technicians were arrested over inconsistencies in their statements but were released due to lack of evidence.

The RDD is a non-nuclear industrial radiography equipment, but which contains the radioactive isotope Iridium-192 that emits beta and gamma radiation.

The paper cited metallurgy expert Abd Nassir Ibrahim, the managing director of Madani NDT Training Centre, as saying the equipment is used in various engineering projects, including the building and maintenance of power plants, chemical and petrochemical plants, and automobiles factories, but can be turned into a “dirty bomb” in the hands of terrorists.

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