Two M'sians freed from N. Korea sitting tight in Beijing

AUDREY DERMAWAN


KEPALA BATAS: Two Malaysians who were allowed to leave Pyongyang for Beijing, amidst a ban on Malaysian citizens leaving North Korea, have decided to stay on in China for the moment.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said he spoke with Stella Lim on the phone yesterday, and was told both she and Nyanaprakash Muniandy will remain in Beijing for the United Nation's programme there.

The two, who work for the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), are UN passport holders.

"I have been in touch with them daily and they are doing well.

"I have also been in touch with the remaining nine Malaysians in North Korea and all of them are safe as well. They continue to enjoy freedom of movement and freedom of communication," he said.

Reezal said the next-of-kin of the nine Malaysians have been briefed about their situation.

"Our priority now is to bring them home swiftly," he added.

On Tuesday, North Korea barred Malaysians from leaving the country, sparking a similar action by Malaysia on North Korean citizens in this country, as tensions escalated over police investigations into the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Kuala Lumpur.