File photo : Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
File photo : Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

50 North Koreans in Sarawak to be deported, says Zahid

ASEAN+ March 14, 2017 14:43

By The Star
Asia News Network

Kuala Lumpur Some 50 North Koreans in Sarawak who exceeded the duration of their visa will be deported at the soonest, said Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"We will send the North Korean workers who are in Sarawak, who have exceeded their visa period, back to Pyongyang.

"Those with valid visas, however, can stay," he told reporters in Parliament on Tuesday.

The Deputy Prime Minister said there were a total of 315 North Koreans in Malaysia, adding that negotiations are ongoing with North Korea to allow the remaining nine Malaysians there to return.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said that there were a total of 191 North Koreans here under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries have soured following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Feb 13.

North Korea has criticised Malaysia’s handling of the investigation, and has even accused it of being part of a conspiracy against the hermit nation.

Tensions escalated on March 7 when North Korea barred all 11 Malaysians there from leaving the country, effectively turning them into hostages.

Two of them, Stella Lim and Nyanaprakash Muniandy of the United Nations' World Food Programme, got out of Pyongyang and reached Beijing on March 9. Malaysia issued a similar ban for the 315 North Koreans still in the country.

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