NO MORE VISA-FREE TRAVEL FOR N. KOREA

DPM makes the de­ci­sion in his ca­pac­ity as home min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - News - FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR PU­TRA­JAYA news@nst.com.my

THE gov­ern­ment has can­celled its visa-free pol­icy for vis­it­ing North Kore­ans be­cause of na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi yes­ter­day said they would need a visa to en­ter Malaysia ef­fec­tive Mon­day, adding that he made the de­ci­sion in his ca­pac­ity as home min­is­ter.

“The move will be im­ple­mented by the Im­mi­gra­tion De­part­ment and we will gazette the visa en­force­ment on North Kore­ans on Mon­day,” he said.

Zahid, who at­tended the monthly Home Min­istry gath­er­ing here, warned North Korean diplo­mats not to take ad­van­tage of Malaysia.

“North Korean diplo­mats, whether in Malaysia or in in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions, are re­minded not to hu­mil­i­ate or ma­nip­u­late Malaysia.

“We do not want to make en­e­mies. We are a firm gov­ern­ment and we want to main­tain the peace of our coun­try and the well-be­ing of Malaysians.

“We urge these diplo­mats not to use Malaysia as a plat­form for their na­tional agenda,” he said.

Diplo­matic ties be­tween the two coun­tries have soured since the mur­der of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on Feb 13. He was poi­soned by two women at klia2 while await­ing a flight to Ma­cau.

North Korea has crit­i­cised Malaysia’s con­duct of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­manded that the body be re­turned to the North.

“It is un­fair to ac­cuse Malaysia of con­spir­ing with other or­gan­i­sa­tions or coun­tries.

“If North Korea has its own agenda, do not use re­verse psy­chol­ogy on us. Do not tar the im­age of Malaysia in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

At the gath­er­ing, Zahid pre­sented Ex­cel­lent Ser­vice Award to 357 min­istry of­fi­cers and per­son­nel for their out­stand­ing per­for­mance last year.

Mean­while, no trade em­bargo has been im­posed on Malaysian com­pa­nies keen on do­ing busi­ness with North Korean com­pa­nies de­spite Jong-nam’s mur­der, says In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mustapa Mo­hamed.

He said the gov­ern­ment had no right to make any de­ci­sion as it was en­tirely up to the pri­vate com­pa­nies.

“Malaysia is not a state econ­omy and (the trade with North Korea) is driven by the pri­vate sec­tor.

“I be­lieve there aren’t many Malaysian pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in North Korea.

“So, we leave it to the Malaysian com­pa­nies to make their own as­sess­ment of risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said af­ter an­nounc­ing Malaysia’s In­vest­ment Per­for­mance in 2016 here yes­ter­day.

BER­NAMA PIC

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi pre­sent­ing the Ex­cel­lent Ser­vice Award to Fir­daus Warni dur­ing the Home Min­istry’s monthly meet­ing in Pu­tra­jaya yes­ter­day.

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