NGO appeals to N. Korea to release M'sians, cherish bilateral relationship

Farezza Hanum Rashid

KUALA LUMPUR: North Korea must allow the nine Malaysians still stranded in the country to leave, as Malaysia has followed diplomatic protocol every step of the way in dealing with the ongoing crisis sparked by the murder of Kim Jong-nam.

Non-governmental organisation Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) said Malaysia's declaration of North Korean ambassador Kang Chol as ‘persona non grata’ was pursuant to Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

SAMM chief activist Ahmad Anwar Asyraf reminded North Korea of its 44 years of unbroken diplomatic relations with Malaysia, even when it was considered a member of the "axis of evil" by a majority of the world.

"We also allow North Korean companies to open businesses here, even when they are suspected of producing illegal weapons, and shelter (hundreds) of its people who work and live in our country," he said in a press conference at the North Korean embassy today.

He added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should leverage on his close relationship with China and prevail upon it to act as mediator, especially in helping bring home the Malaysians still in North Korea.

"SAMM's political views often differ from that of the government's, but when the sovereignty of the country is threatened, it is our duty to stand up and defend our great nation," he said.

Ahmad Anwar also urged Malaysians to stop spreading rumours of conspiracies and the possibility of war in social media.

"Doing so does not reflect maturity in dealing with such a crisis. We emphasise that war is not a good option, and we hope that this diplomatic crisis can be resolved peacefully," Ahmad Anwar added.

Members of SAMM also placed bouquets of yellow flowers at the embassy's mail box as a symbol of peace and friendship.