M'sia tightens border security, preventing N. Koreans from leaving via land


KANGAR: The Perlis Immigration Department is stepping up checks at the Malaysia-Thai border to ensure that no North Koreans leave through the neighbouring country.

Its director, Mohd Amir Othman said measures were being taken as per instructions received today from the Home Ministry.

The Padang Besar border crossing, the main route of entry/exit between Malaysia and Thailand in Perlis, is open from 6am to 10pm, while the other at Wang Kelian is open from 7am to 7pm.

Amir also added that a piece of news, which has since gone viral, on the border crossing in Perlis being open for 24 hours, is a hoax.

In ALOR SETAR, the Kedah Immigration Department is doing the same at the Kedah-Thailand border.

Its director, Zuhair Jamaludin said steps have been taken to tighten border control as soon as the directive was issued.

Meanwhile, the Johor Immigration Department said that it will ensure that no North Korean citizens leave the country through the Johor-Singapore border.

Its director Datuk Rohaizi Bahari said the move would be implemented until the government orders otherwise.

North Korea on Tuesday banned Malaysians from leaving the country, and Malaysia responded in kind, closing its borders to North Koreans and barring those in the country from leaving.

The strain in both countries’ diplomatic ties came following the murder of North Korean national Kim Chol, widely reported to be Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.

Soon after North Korea announced its travel ban, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak condemned the move and said he was barring North Koreans from leaving the country.

“I have also instructed the Inspector-General of Police to prevent all North Korean citizens in Malaysia from leaving the country until we are assured of the safety and security of all Malaysians in North Korea,” he said.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that Malaysia would not allow any officers and staff at the North Korean embassy here to leave the country, in a directive which came into force immediately.

Initially, Malaysian officials had said the ban would affect only North Korean Embassy staff and officials, but later expanded it to include all North Koreans. —BERNAMA