Tourism minister: Only four North Koreans living in Malaysia as second home

BY KAMLES KUMAR
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said that two North Koreans applied and was approved in 2013 while two others applied and were approved a year later. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Only four North Koreans have been accepted to live here under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.

He was clarifying an earlier statement by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who had told Parliament that there were over 190 North Koreans who had made Malaysia their second home.

“According to the MM2H, there are only four North Korean participants [who] applied and [were] approved by my ministry,” Nazri told reporters at the Parliament lobby this afternoon.

He said the 193 people mentioned by Ahmad Zahid might have been the number of North Korean applicants, but stressed that the procedure did not grant automatic access.

Nazri added that two North Koreans applied and was approved in 2013 while two others applied and were approved a year later.

He explained that to qualify for MM2H approval, the North Koreans had to meet certain criteria, such as being below age 50 and having a minimum of RM500,000 in liquid assets as well as a monthly income of RM10,000.

Those above the age threshold must have RM350,000 in liquid assets and still have an income of RM10,000 a month.

The Umno supreme council member said the MM2H programme for North Koreans will continue unless there is a directive from Putrajaya to stop.

"We will continue to evaluate any application from North Korea until I receive instructions from the Home Ministry that all North Koreans are treated as people who can't apply.

"It is not fair for us to discriminate. If there is a policy to say no, I will abide," Nazri said.

The Padang Rengas MP also said that none of the North Koreans living here were involved in the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged older half-brother of their country’s leader Kim Jong-un.

However, he did not elaborate on how he arrived at that conclusion.