Kim Jong-nam murder: Nine Malaysians arrive safely from Pyongyang

NST TEAM

KUALA LUMPUR: The nine Malaysians, who were earlier barred from leaving North Korea following a spat between the two countries, have safely arrived from Pyongyang at 5.03am.

Their arrival at the KLIA's Bunga Raya Complex were welcomed by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, government officials and family members.

The nine, consisting of four diplomats and their respective family members, had taken a direct chartered flight from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, at 7.45pm on Thursday, Malaysia time.

They are Noor Saaidah Jamaluddin, 29, (assistant to the ambassador), her husband Mohd Radzuan Othman, 29; their eight month old infant Mohamad Radhiy; S Nirmala Malar Kodi, 45 (administrative officer); Mohd Nor Azrin Md Zain, 37 (counselor); his wife, Iza Karmila Ramli, 35, and their three kids Annur Zulaikha, 6; Aynor Zhafirah, 5; and Ayscha Zinnirah, 3.

The family members appeared relieved at their safe return, with some trying to hold back their tears.

Anifah attributed the success of the negotiations between Malaysia and North Korea to the great team work of the various government agencies involved in the process.

Anifah also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had played an important role in the negotiation process.

"The Malaysian government will do all it can to bring them back and spend every resources and effort to ensure their safety and well being.

"Today, the promise has been fulfilled, the PM was involved directly and has followed closely every step of the way in the negotiation that have been brought up to this point," he said.

The Malaysians were stranded due to the diplomatic spat between the two nations following the death of Jong-nam, the exiled half-brother of Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Malaysia had agreed to release Jong-nam's body to North Korea and in return, allowed North Koreans to leave the country, as announced by Najib in a statement yesterday.

The deal puts an end to a drawn-out diplomatic drama over the murder that happened at klia2 on Feb 13.

Diplomatic ties between Malaysia and North Korea have deteriorated sharply after the former refused to grant custody of Jong-nam's remains to North Korea.

Malaysia had instead conducted an investigation and autopsy on the body, which according to the police, revealed that Jong-nam was poisoned using a VX nerve agent, which is a banned mass destruction chemical weapon.

Two women who have allegedly wiped Jong-nam's face with the poison have been charged with murder.

Siti Aisyah, 25, from Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong, 29, from Vietnam were charged with the murder of Jong-nam at the Sepang Magistrate Court here on March 1.

Reporting by ZAFIRA ANWAR, MASRIWANIE MUHAMADING and FERNANDO FONG.