50 N. Koreans in Sarawak to be deported: DPM

ADRIAN LAI

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi said the government has decided to deport 50 North Koreans in Sarawak whose working permits expired recently.

Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said he will inform Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg of the decision today.

"This decision to deport the North Koreans was made in line with rules that have been set.

"(The North Koreans) are now being held at a temporary detention depot in Sarawak. After the documentation (process) is complete, we will begin the deportation," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.

Zahid said the Sarawak state government needs to be informed of the decision, as immigration laws in the state differ from the country's Immigration Act.

He also said North Koreans whose working visas are still valid will not be deported, pending ongoing discussions between Malaysia and the communist state.

There are about 170 North Koreans in Sarawak, mainly specialised workers operating in a coal mine and a hydro project.