After over three weeks of being banned from leaving North Korea, nine Malaysians - comprising embassy staff and their families - were permitted to leave the country today. The good news was relayed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the following statement:
March 30, 2017
1. I am pleased to announce that the nine Malaysians who had been barred from leaving North Korea have now been allowed to return to Malaysia. Alhamdulillah, they took off from Pyongyang today at 7.45pm Malaysian time, and will land in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow around 5am.
2. I would like to thank those in the Malaysian government involved in the negotiations, led by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I had a deep personal concern about this matter, and we worked intensively behind the scenes to achieve this successful outcome. Many challenges were overcome to ensure the return of our fellow Malaysians. The safety and security of our citizens will always be my first priority.
3. We will now allow North Koreans to leave Malaysia. In addition, following the completion of the autopsy on the deceased and receipt of a letter from his family requesting the remains be returned to North Korea, the coroner has approved the release of the body.
4. The government believes strongly in the principles of justice and sovereignty. Our police investigation into this serious crime on Malaysian soil will continue. I have instructed for all possible measures to be taken to bring those responsible for this murder to justice.
5. As Prime Minister, I am grateful that all Malaysians united to overcome this crisis in the spirit of Negaraku. It shows what can be achieved for the nation if we work together as one.
DATUK SERI NAJIB TUN RAZAK
PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA