All diplo­mats posted here must re­spect our laws, says Na­jib

New Straits Times - - News -

Diplo­mats must be re­spect­ful of their host coun­tries, and this is no dif­fer­ent in Malaysia.

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said yes­ter­day any diplo­mat posted here must re­spect the coun­try and its laws.

“(It was) based on this prin­ci­ple (that) we have taken ac­tion to de­clare (North Korean am­bas­sador to Malaysia) Kang Chol per­sona non grata,” he said at the lobby of Par­lia­ment af­ter the open­ing of the new ses­sion of the De­wan Rakyat by Yang di-Per­tuan Agong Sul­tan Muham­mad V.

Kang had made a num­ber of dis­parag­ing re­marks about Malaysia and its author­i­ties in their han­dling of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the as­sas­si­na­tion of Kim Jong-nam, the ex­iled half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jongun.

On Satur­day, For­eign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman had de­clared Kang per­sona non grata and gave him 48 hours to leave the coun­try af­ter fail­ing to meet the min­istry’s deputy sec­re­tary­gen­eral for bi­lat­eral af­fairs, Raja Nushir­wan Zainal Abidin.

Ani­fah had also said that Wisma Pu­tra had de­manded a writ­ten apol­ogy from North Korea for the ac­cu­sa­tions made by Kang. Af­ter four days, no such apol­ogy was of­fered. This led to the gov­ern­ment declar­ing him per­sona non grata.

Na­jib said Kang should have apol­o­gised and re­tracted his ac­cu­sa­tions as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple.

He said the gov­ern­ment would wait for new de­vel­op­ments with re­gards to its fu­ture diplo­matic re­la­tions with North Korea.

“We will see... we will take it one step at the time,” he said.

On whether he ex­pected an apol­ogy from North Korea, Na­jib said: “We are not get­ting any­thing. I do not ex­pect any­thing from them.”

Mean­while, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia had sent a clear mes­sage to North Korea that diplo­matic re­la­tions must be re­spected.

“Malaysia should view this mat­ter not only in re­spect to diplo­matic ties but that re­la­tions be­tween two coun­tries need to be de­fended and re­spected. I would like to re­it­er­ate that there is no hid­den agenda with re­gards to our ac­tions (in Jong-nam’s case),” he said.

Zahid said Malaysian po­lice had con­ducted their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case pro­fes­sion­ally with­out link­ing the mur­der to any coun­try.

“Our po­lice have suf­fi­cient ex­per­tise to con­duct in­ter­ro­ga­tions,” he said.

He said ex­pelling an am­bas­sador was a rare move in diplo­matic re­la­tions but Kang had failed to apol­o­gise to Malaysia for his ac­cu­sa­tions.

“In­stead, (he) made crit­i­cisms which have had an im­pact on the per­cep­tion of our coun­try,” he said.

De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hus­sein said the de­ci­sion to ex­pel Kang was based on the coun­try’s laws and to pro­tect the na­tion’s sovereignty.

“I be­lieve the world knows what we have done is right. Other sov­er­eign coun­tries, if they were in our po­si­tion, would have taken the same stance and made the same de­ci­sion,” he said.

Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Reezal Mer­i­can Naina Mer­i­can said the gov­ern­ment had acted in com­pli­ance with in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic laws in the han­dling of Jong-nam’s mur­der and the de­ci­sion to kick Kang out of the coun­try.

“All I can say is that our re­la­tions with North Korea have been af­fected and things will not be the same again.”

I be­lieve the world knows what we have done is right. Other sov­er­eign coun­tries, if they were in our po­si­tion, would have taken the same stance and made the same de­ci­sion. DATUK SERI HISHAMMUDDIN HUS­SEIN

De­fence min­is­ter

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