Status of 170 N. Koreans in Sarawak to be discussed: CM

Goh Pei Pei

KUCHING: The state government will discuss with the Home and Foreign Ministries on the status of North Koreans working in Sarawak, said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg.

He said the review is being made in view of the government’s ban on North Korean embassy officials leaving the country, which follows North Korea barring Malaysians in that country from exiting the nation.

The strain in bilateral ties between Malaysia and North Korea was triggered by the investigation into the assassination of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) last month.

“We need to discuss (with) the two ministries on this matter before making any conclusions,” said Abang Johari after the launching the Forest Landscape Workshop and Forum at the Riverside Majestic Hotel here today.

He said there are 170 North Koreans in Sarawak. Most of them work in the coal mining industry here.

Abang Johari, however, did not provide a specific date on when a decision on the matter will be made.

“I can’t tell you how soon. But it will all depend on the outcome of our discussion with the two ministries,” he added.

Earlier today, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi issued the ban on North Korean embassy officers and staff in Malaysia leaving the country.

The ban, however, was not imposed on regular North Koreans working and residing in Malaysia.