No more visa-free entry for North Koreans, says Zahid

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR

PUTRAJAYA: Effective March 6, North Koreans wishing to enter Malaysia will have to apply for visa, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced

today.


Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the decision to end the visa-free entry policy was made after taking into account the security issues involved.


"Starting from this Monday, all North Korean tourists who wish to visit Malaysia will have to apply for visa.


"The decision to withdraw the visa-free facility for North Koreans is due to security reasons.


"We hope the Home Ministry and Immigration Department will do all the necessary and gazzete this on Monday," he said at a press conference after attending the Home

Ministry's monthly assembly, today.


When asked if this was decided in the Cabinet meeting, Zahid said: "I made the decision myself."


He also warned North Korean diplomats not to take advantage of Malaysia's hospitality.


"North Korean diplomats, whether in Malaysia or other international organisations, are reminded not to humiliate Malaysia. Don't make this country a platform for you to run

your national agenda," he said.


On the North Korean suspect, Ri Jong-Chol who was held over the murder of Jong-Nam, whose remand expires tomorrow, Zahid said he has yet to receive any update on the matter.


"We are waiting for information from the Attorney-General's Chamber and our legal adviser whether the suspect will be released, detained under Immigration Act or deported to

his home country.


"The decision will be made by this afternoon,"


It is learnt that the decision to drop charges against Jong-Chol was due to lack of evidence.


It was reported that the suspect, who was detained on Feb 18, will be freed but will face deportation to North Korea within days after his release.


It is also learnt that he is likely to be held under the Immigration Act for an offence related to his travel documents.