Gerakan lauds move to expel North Korean ambassador

FERNANDO FONG

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan today expressed its support for the government’s decision to expel North Korea's ambassador Kang Chol from Malaysia.

Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau said stern action must be taken to protect the good name of the country from being tarnished by outsiders.

"Kang Chol had unfairly criticised Malaysia by fabricating stories that Malaysia had been colluding with hostile forces against North Korea.

"At the same time, we urge North Korea to stop making slanderous statements against Malaysia,” he said in a statement this evening.

Lau said the decision to declare Kang Chol as Persona Non Grata on Saturday evening was justified as the latter had refused to apologise nor explain for his remarks, despite being summoned by the Foreign Ministry.

In diplomatic terms, a persona non grata, literally meaning "an unwelcome person", is a foreign person who is prohibited from entering or remaining in a particular country by that country's government.

Members of the media, both local and international, waited for Kang Chol at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) departure hall today but failed to spot him.

The ambassador is expected to leave the country latest by 6pm tomorrow at the end of a 48-hour deadline.

Kang had strained ties between both counties after he criticised Malaysia for refusing to release the body of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Jong-nam was the subject of an assassination at the KLIA 2 on Feb 13.