Opposition wants special briefing on North Korea in Parliament

BY KAMLES KUMAR
A police patrol car maintains watch outside the North Korean embassy in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur March 7 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — The Opposition has requested for a briefing for lawmakers tomorrow on the North Korea crisis that saw Pyongyang ban Malaysians from leaving the country.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has accepted her motion to discuss the matter.

"We want to know what exactly is going on. It has become diplomatically sour, we don't want to say things without any knowledge

"The Speaker took it well, he said okay and is amicable to it," she told reporters when met outside the Parliament lobby today.

The Permatang Pauh MP added that she had requested the briefing to be done by the foreign minister, home minister and also the police.

Both Opposition and government lawmakers have condemned the ban on Malaysians from leaving North Korea, which was announced by the reclusive country’s state media after North Korean ambassador Kang Chol left Malaysia yesterday when Putrajaya expelled him.  

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced in response that all North Korean embassy officials were barred from leaving Malaysia with immediate effect.

He also said the Cabinet will meet this Friday and discuss if Malaysia is to sever ties with North Korea.

The Foreign Ministry has said that the 11 Malaysians stranded in North Korea were currently safe.

North Korea and its embassy had condemned Malaysia's handling of the February 13 murder of Kim Jong-nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, the estranged brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea accused Malaysia of being in cahoots with South Korea in pinning the murder on them and insisted that the North Korean died of a heart attack, not from getting killed with VX nerve agent, a deadly chemical weapon.