N. Korea has no basis for detaining Malaysians, says Rais
North Korea must allow Malaysians there to return home as there is no basis to bar them from leaving the country, said former foreign minister Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.
Rais said the Malaysian officials and their families stranded in Pyongyang, had nothing to do with Kim Jongnam’s murder.
He said Malaysians there were innocent, and there must be some humanity in the Kim Jong-un-led government to let them go.
“They have got nothing to do with this murder. And by virtue of humanity, since there is no nexus, why should they be forbidden from returning home or going to Beijing, China, or wherever?
So, if that is considered by North Korea, it would augur well for the observers of natural law and natural justice for humanity.
“Because (whether) you like it or not, communism or capitalism, the basic question is humanity. When a person is not connected to the crime whatsoever, we have no nexus, rhyme or reason to hold him in a spot and that must be recognised by everybody. Otherwise, it can be seen as a ransom undertaking. You hold innocent people, who have got nothing to do with the crime. You will be held responsible for not being fair and just in the face of humanity.
“I hope the young dictator can appreciate that. Over here, our prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) has said we don’t want to hold anybody.
“But North Korea has other ideas, which is not fair. And the fairness must be just, also by the United Nations (UN). We could also petition the UN by virtue of human rights but that would be tedious and would not happen very fast.”
Rais was commenting on the diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea, following the Feb 13 murder of Jong-nam, the half brother of Jong-un, at klia2.
He said this after delivering a keynote address at the Third International Council of Islamic Finance
Educators (ICIFE) annual general meeting and international forum on Islamic finance education here yesterday.
Besides being the ICIFE international advisory board chairman, Rais attended the event as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president.
At the event, Rais launched two books authored by Dr Adam Abdullah titled The Islamic Currency and Islamic Leadership Today, which was jointly written by Dr Rodrigue Fontaine, Professor Dr Khaliq Ahmad and Dr Gapur Oziev, all of whom are from IIUM’s Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance.
Rais said Malaysia could not be too dependent on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, saying that if more prominence was placed on it compared with domestic laws, the country would fail in many aspects in that future, and one instance would be the investigation into the high-profile murder of Jong-nam.
In view of this, Rais said, there should be a change in the recognition of domestic laws to supersede those Malaysia is a signatory to.
“The question is: was the Criminal Procedure Code or the Penal Code not used when the Vienna Convention had superseded it?
“It should have not been that way. But, because we have not faced this before, maybe now Parliament could weigh in on the superiority of local laws.
“The priority of domestic laws pertaining to serious crimes must be above the instruments we recognise diplomatically.
“We cannot allow international priority to take precedence over our local law.
“This is because it involves a murder and not something petty.
“As a country, we must be able to determine that if a murder or a serious crime happens, the country’s laws must come first.
“This is because this is our country, not North Korea’s or other.”
Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim