US slaps sanctions on Malaysian semiconductor firm

KL-based Jatronics Sdn Bhd is accused of shipping vital electronic parts to Russia which can be used in missiles, jets and drones.

PETALING JAYA: The United States has imposed sanctions on a Malaysian semiconductor firm, Jatronics Sdn Bhd, for allegedly supplying Russia’s military with crucial electronic components.

Al Jazeera reported that Jatronics is among about 300 entities on Washington’s sanctions list for allegedly supporting Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine.

Jatronics, based in Kuala Lumpur, is accused of shipping vital electronic parts to Russia which can be used in missiles, jets and drones.

A US state department spokesman told the Qatar-based news outlet that Jatronics had supplied components to Russian firms linked to Russia’s military-industrial complex.

While US officials did not confirm if Jatronics’ components were used in military equipment, they were quoted as saying that the company supplied items on the US Department of Commerce’s list of “common high-priority items” critical for Russian precision-guided weapons systems.

The sanctions mean that any US assets belonging to the targeted entities are frozen while deals with nations under US jurisdiction are barred, effectively cutting them off from the US financial system.

According to the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), Jatronics shipped over US$3 million worth of goods to Russia between April 2022 and September 2023.

The recipients included companies already sanctioned for their ties with the Russian military.

Last December, the US sanctioned four Malaysian-based companies for allegedly providing components for Iran’s weapons programme, particularly to help in its production of drones.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim recently positioned Malaysia as a neutral hub for the semiconductor supply chain amid the US-China tech war, aiming to attract US$100 billion in new investments.

However, experts warn that Malaysia’s aim of maintaining geopolitical neutrality while expanding its semiconductor industry could expose local firms to sanctions.

Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington, told Al Jazeera that Malaysia risked further sanctions as the US intensified efforts to disrupt Russian supply chains.

He said these measures were designed to encourage companies to reconsider doing business with Russia.

“They are setting them up to be sanctioned. Malaysia is clearly under watch from the United States right now,” he said.


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