‘WE’RE FAR FROM WAGING WAR’
Bilateral relations intact despite tense diplomatic situation, says Hisham
THE diplomatic relationship between North Korea and Malaysia may be tense but not to the point of waging war, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said the bilateral relationship between both countries was intact even after the turn of events related to Kim Jongnam’s murder investigation.
He said the Malaysian government had not received any reports about the situation escalating to something akin to a war.
“As defence minister, I would be informed in advance about such matters. So far, there have been no reports that can raise any alarm between us and North Korea.
“I believe the relationship between the two countries has reached a tense point, but we are far from waging war with one another,” he said after opening the Muar Umno division meeting and handing over kits for the party’s 14th General Election preparations at the division’s headquarters here yesterday.
Present was Muar Umno division chief Datuk Razali Ibrahim.
Hishammuddin, who is also a Umno vice-president, said the tense diplomatic relationship between both countries had been aggravated by the spread of theories surrounding Jongnam’s murder investigation, and the fact that those opinions were debated openly.
“Nonetheless, the cabinet agreed that our main focus would be to ensure the safety of Malaysians who are barred from leaving North Korea, and to ensure there is transparency in the murder investigation.”
On another matter, Hishammuddin refuted claims that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation into a real estate scandal in Johor has eroded the people’s confidence in the Barisan Nasional-led state government.
“It’s the other way around, actually. The government is upholding the rule of law and regulations and this shows that nobody is above the law, whether friend or foe,” he said, referring to the arrest of Johor state executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi in connection with the case.
Hishammuddin urged the people not to speculate on the matter as the MACC investigation was ongoing.
He said the exco member should not be persecuted through a trial by the media.
“It’s truly a sad thing personally for me as the executive councillor who is being investigated is a good friend.
“To allow MACC to carry out the investigation will do justice not only to him but also everyone else in determining who the culprit is behind the corruption case.”
Hishammuddin urged Umno members to reinforce their spirit of camaraderie among BN component party members as it would be the winning formula in the next general election.
“This is not a one-party fight to the end.
“With the strength of our brothers and sisters in BN component parties, Umno will be able to wrest the seats it lost in the last general election.”