KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — North Korea’s ban on Malaysians from leaving its country has united federal lawmakers across the political divide to rally behind Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Opposition MPs condemned Kim Jong-un’s regime for resorting to what they said was an uncivilised and provocative move in violation of international norms and tantamount to wrongful imprisonment.
“This is uncivilised. We definitely condemn North Korea,” DAP secretary-general and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng said.
“I think we should move a resolution to United Nations because this is against the Vienna Convention so by preventing Malaysians from leaving I think this (is) wrongful imprisonment, forceful imprisonment,” he added.
Health Minister and Segamat MP Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the ban was clearly hostile.
He also said Pyonyang was punishing innocent individuals as an unjustified retaliation to a diplomatic row triggered by the local murder of Kim Jong-nam who had once been the heir-apparent to North Korea’s dynastic rule started by Kim Il-sung.
“But of course it is an unfriendly act. We did not do that [bar North Koreans from leaving].
“Whatever we did are towards people who are directly involved or are giving comments which are not in line with [international norms],” Dr Subramaniam told Malay Mail Online.
“But this is against ordinary citizens who have nothing to do with this case,” he added.
11 Malaysians — among them two Malaysians with the UN Food Programme, three embassy staff and their six family members — are now stranded in North Korea after its government retaliated against Malaysia for expelling its ambassador over Jong-nam’s February 13 murder on Malaysian soil.
In an immediate response, Putrajaya also banned North Koreans from leaving Malaysia.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has summoned an emergency meeting of the National Security Council to address the matter.
Lim said the Opposition are united behind the federal government’s move to secure the return of the 11 Malaysians stranded in North Korea.
“We definitely support the move by the federal government to secure the immediate release of our citizens and I think we should move a resolution and at the same time ask all the counties still friendly with North Korea to secure the 11 Malaysians,” the DAP leader said.
Senior BN backbencher and former federal minister Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said the ban against North Koreans from leaving Malaysia should be a temporary measure until both countries resolve the matter amicably.
“The ban is an immediate reaction so we can get a clearer picture and better understanding as to why they are barring our citizens from leaving,” he said, adding that the resolution should be amicable.