Jong-nam murder: Health Ministry maintains DNA test necessary

Kelly Koh

MALACCA: Dental records may not be enough to establish the identity of murdered North Korean citizen 'Kim Chol', but DNA tests might.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said while dental records could facilitate the process of identification, a DNA test could produce a more conclusive result.

"Dental records will be useful in some cases. But in this case, I think we can identify with confidence (through) DNA (test)," he said.

Dr Subramanian was speaking to reporters at the launch of the Education and Welfare Fund, organised by MIC Taman Muzaffar Shah, in Bukit Beruang last night.

Subraminiam was asked to comment on a statement by whereby the identification process could be done through health or dental records if DNA samples from his family could not be obtained.

"Dental records can still give rise to doubt. But in this particular case, there are some peculiarities in which dental records alone might not give us a 100 percent certainty.

"So I think DNA will be the best," he said, adding that it was most crucial to identify the victim as the process was still ongoing.

"We still need information and support from various parties (to help in the process of identification)," he added.

Kim Chol, who has since been named by many as Kim Jong-nam, was killed after being attacked with VX nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.

Kim Jong-Nam is the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Jong-nam's death on Malaysian soil has sparked a domestic row between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang, with the latter having accused Malaysia of playing into the hands of outside forces.

The claims have been strenuously rejected by police as well as the government. As a result of the accusations, North Korean ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol has since been declared persona non grata and has been asked to leave the country within 48 hours as of 6pm on Saturday.