Malaysians from Py­ongyang to ar­rive to­day, says Na­jib

New Straits Times - - News -

PUTRAJAYA: The long wait for the re­turn of the nine Malaysians who were barred from leav­ing North Korea is fi­nally over.

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak yes­ter­day said the gov­ern­ment had worked in­ten­sively be­hind the scenes and over­came “many chal­lenges” to en­sure the safe re­turn of the Malaysians.

Na­jib said they were sched­uled to land at the Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KLIA) at 5am to­day.

“Al­ham­dulil­lah, they took off from Py­ongyang to­day (yes­ter­day) at 7.45pm Malaysian time, and will land in Kuala Lumpur to­mor­row (to­day) around 5am.

“I would like to thank those in the Malaysian gov­ern­ment in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions, led by our For­eign Min­istry.

“I had a deep per­sonal con­cern about this mat­ter, and we worked in­ten­sively be­hind the scenes to achieve this suc­cess­ful out­come. The safety and se­cu­rity of our cit­i­zens will al­ways be my first pri­or­ity,” said Na­jib in a state­ment.

For­eign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman is sched­uled to wel­come the nine Malaysians at the Bunga Raya Com­plex in KLIA.

With the lat­est devel­op­ment, the prime min­is­ter said, Malaysia would al­low North Kore­ans in the coun­try to leave.

Na­jib said fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the au­topsy on Kim Jong-nam’s body, and the re­ceipt of a let­ter from the lat­ter’s fam­ily re­quest­ing his re­mains to be re­turned to North Korea, the coro­ner had ap­proved the re­lease of the body.

“The gov­ern­ment be­lieves strongly in the prin­ci­ples of jus­tice and sovereignty. Our po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into this se­ri­ous crime on Malaysian soil will con­tinue. I have in­structed for all pos­si­ble mea­sures to be taken to bring those re­spon­si­ble for this mur­der to jus­tice.

“As prime min­is­ter, I am grate­ful that all Malaysians united to over­come this cri­sis in the spirit of Ne­garaku. It shows what can be achieved for the na­tion if we work to­gether as one,” he said.

Jong-nam was at­tacked at klia2 on Feb 13 by two women, Viet­namese Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aisyah, who wiped the VX nerve agent on his face.

He died en route to the hospi­tal. Both women were ar­rested shortly af­ter the mur­der.

Diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween Malaysia and North Korea be­gan to sour and on Feb 20, North Korean am­bas­sador Kang Chol was quoted as say­ing that Py­ongyang could not trust the re­sults of the post-mortem con­ducted on Jong-nam.

He had also ac­cused Malaysia of be­ing in col­lu­sion with South Korea.

Malaysia sub­se­quently dropped the visa-free sta­tus of North Kore­ans in Malaysia on March 2, a day af­ter both the women were charged with Jong­nam’s mur­der.

The sit­u­a­tion es­ca­lated when Malaysia ex­pelled Kang Chol on March 6, which prompted Py­ongyang to stop Malaysian cit­i­zens from leav­ing North Korea.

Malaysia re­sponded with sim­i­lar ban on March, pre­vent­ing all North Kore­ans in the coun­try from leav­ing Malaysia.

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