GOVT TO DEPORT 50 NORTH KORE­ANS

North Kore­ans with valid work per­mits will not be de­ported, says DPM

New Straits Times - - News -

ADRIAN LAI

KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

THE gov­ern­ment has de­cided to deport 50 North Kore­ans de­tained for work­ing in Sarawak af­ter their per­mits had ex­pired.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said yes­ter­day he would in­form Sarawak Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Amar Abang Jo­hari Abang Openg of the de­ci­sion.

“This de­ci­sion to deport the North Kore­ans was made in line with the rules that have been set. (The North Kore­ans) are now be­ing held at a tem­po­rary de­ten­tion de­pot in Sarawak.

“Af­ter the doc­u­men­ta­tion (process) is com­pleted, we will be­gin the de­por­ta­tion,” he told re­porters at the Par­lia­ment lobby.

Zahid, who is also home min­is­ter, said the Sarawak gov­ern­ment needed to be in­formed of the de­ci­sion, as Im­mi­gra­tion laws in the state dif­fered from the Fed­eral Im­mi­gra­tion Act.

He said North Kore­ans whose work per­mits were still valid would not be de­ported, and that ne­go­ti­a­tions with North Korea were on­go­ing to al­low the re­main­ing nine Malaysians in Py­ongyang to re­turn.

Zahid said a to­tal of 315 North Korean cit­i­zens were re­sid­ing in the coun­try, adding that there were 191 in the coun­try un­der the Malaysia My Sec­ond Home pro­gramme.

There are about 170 North Kore­ans in Sarawak, mainly spe­cialised work­ers at a coal mine and a hy­dro project.

This de­ci­sion to deport the North Kore­ans was made in line with the rules that have been set. (The North Kore­ans) are now be­ing held at a tem­po­rary de­ten­tion de­pot in Sarawak.

DATUK SERI DR AH­MAD ZAHID HAMIDI

Deputy prime min­is­ter

The is­sue of North Korean work­ers came to light fol­low­ing strained ties be­tween Malaysia and North Korea over in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mur­der of Kim Jong-nam, the es­tranged half­brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Py­ongyang had crit­i­cised Malaysia’s han­dling of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and had ac­cused it of be­ing part of a con­spir­acy against North Korea.

The diplo­matic row es­ca­lated on March 7 when North Korea barred all 11 Malaysians there from leav­ing the coun­try.

Two of them, Stella Lim and Nyanaprakash Mu­niandy, man­aged to leave the coun­try as they were reg­is­tered un­der the United Na­tions World Food Pro­gramme. They made their way to Bei­jing on March 9.

PIC BY YAZIT RAZALI

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi says 315 North Kore­ans re­side in the coun­try.

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