Malaysia needs to talk to Pyongyang and negotiate, says Najib

Malaysia needs to talk to Pyongyang and negotiate, says Najib
Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - All 11 Malay­­sians in North Korea are now within the diplomatic compound of the Malaysian embassy and are all safe.

They can also go about their daily activities as usual, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister told reporters at Parliament lobby that the Na­­tional Security Council meeting on Tuesday concluded that there was no need to isolate the Malaysians who had been barred from leaving Pyongyang.

Najib added that Malaysia would not sever ties with North Korea as it was important to keep channel of communication open.

"At the moment it's (bilateral ties between the countries) still on because it provides us with a channel. Because you need to have a channel to talk to them, to negotiate with them.

"In the meantime, we need to examine what is the need of the North Korean government. That is what we have to be sure of.

"But for now we will stick to our decision not to allow North Koreans here to leave the country," he said, adding that the police have also been directed to continue with investigations into the death of Kim Jong-nam.

Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.Photo: Reuters

Najib said the authorities were still waiting for the body to be identified as no one has come forward to provide a DNA sample or identify the body.

On whether Malaysia would seek China's help over the current crisis, Najib said he could not disclose any details.

"The welfare of our Malaysian citizens is of utmost importance and sometimes (any talks) are best conducted in secrecy," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Wis­­ma Putra would be holding talks with the high-powered North Ko­­rean delegation now in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

"I think Wisma Putra will be discussing with them on how to resolve this matter amicably," he told a press conference at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka here yesterday.

The delegation, led by Ri Tong-il, North Korea's former ambassador to the United Nations, had come to Malaysia to seek the release of Kim Jong-nam's body.

Ri Tong-il, North Korea's former ambassador to the United Nations.Photo: Reuters

During a separate function last night, Dr Ahmad Zahid conferred 122 Barisan Nasional MPs with Rela honorary ranks.

The conferment was in recognition of their contributions to the rakyat through the Rela platform.

Among those who received their ranks were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is Home Minister, said with the ranks, the MPs would be empowered to mobilise Rela members to assist during national disasters, traffic patrols during festive seasons, crime prevention and to assist in border patrols with other relevant authorities at their respective constituencies.

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