Aide in hospital, no word on when he will be sent to New Zealand

The cover page of The Star newspaper in Malaysia on 02 July 2014.

KUALA LUMPUR - There is still no word as to when Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, who is hospitalised, will be sent back to New Zealand to face robbery and sexual assault charges.

The Warrant Officer 2, who was a diplomatic aide with the Malay­sian High Commission in New Zealand, is currently being warded at the Tuanku Mizan Military Hospital.

He has been at the hospital since Tuesday for psychiatric observation.

"He is still in hospital. The official medical report is not out yet," a military source said yesterday.

It was widely reported that Rizalman was scheduled to leave for New Zealand yesterday.

He was arrested in New Zealand on May 9.

Armed Forces chief Jeneral Tan Sri Zulkefli Mohd Zin told reporters yesterday that Rizalman would be sent back. However, the date had yet to be determined.

"We will send the warrant officer to New Zealand when it is appropriate and after all the needs that were discussed have been met," he was quoted as saying over Astro Awani yesterday.

"It is not about time. We also do not know when, but we believe that he will be sent later."

The 38-year-old, who served as a defence staff assistant with the High Commission, returned to Malaysia on May 22 under diplomatic immunity.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said on July 1 that his ministry was prepared to waive the immunity but noted that the New Zealand side had offered an alternative for Rizalman to be brought back to Malaysia following discussions on May 12.

On July 2, Anifah told his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully that the Malaysian Government had decided to send Rizalman back to New Zealand to facilitate investigations.

When contacted yesterday, Anifah said they were prepared to send Rizalman back soon but were waiting for his release.

"We want to send him back," he said.

The Defence Ministry has set up a Board of Enquiry to investigate the case.