What ban? Malaysian in N. Korea unaware of ban on leaving country

Bernama


KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian woman residing in Pyongyang said she was unaware about the temporarily ban on Malaysians from leaving North Korea.

"Is that so. We did not receive any news about the ban," was her immediate response when contacted by Bernama here today.

She declined to disclose her identity and said that she had no idea about the ban imposed by Pyongyang Tuesday.

International news agencies have splashed the news about the ban, which would take effect until the current 'tension' is resolved.

She said the Malaysian Ambassador to North Korea (Mohamad Nizan Mohamad) was not in Pyongyang at the moment as the latter was called back by the Malaysian government last month.

Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said 11 Malaysians in Pyongyang were safe.

North Korea's Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol was declared Persona Non Grata by the Malaysian government Saturday and was given 48 hours to leave the country. He left Kuala Lumpur Monday.

In a tit-for-tat move, Pyongyang also expelled Malaysian Ambassador to North Korea Mohamad Nizan Mohamad Monday and given him the same 48-hour ultimatum.

Pyongyang on Tuesday then announced the temporary ban on Malaysians from leaving North Korea in which Kuala Lumpur reacted by temporarily prohibiting North Korea's embassy officials and staff from leaving Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur expelled Kang Chol because of his insulting unfounded remarks against Malaysia and disrespecting the country's laws.

Among others, Kang Chol claimed that Kuala Lumpur was colluding with 'hostile' nations against North Korea, questioned the police's investigation into the murder probe over Kim Chol and claimed the investigation could not be trusted.

Kim Chol, widely reported to be Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was murdered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13.

It was reported that Jong-nam was waiting for his flight to Macau at klia2 when two women suddenly wiped his face with a liquid which was later identified as the VX nerve agent.

Jong-nam reportedly sought help at a customer service counter at the airport and was rushed to Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way. -- Bernama