KUALA LUMPUR — March 14, 2017: The government will repatriate 50 North Koreans with expired work permits in Sarawak back to Pyongyang.
The workers are being detained at a temporary detention depot after they were charged for overstaying.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who is also home minister, said they will be sent home as soon as the documentation process is completed.
“I have discussed with the Sarawak Chief Minister (Datuk Abang Johari Openg) since the Immigration Act in Sarawak is different from what we have (in the peninsula).
“I will officially inform him of the decision (of the meeting) today,” Zahid told reporters at parliament lobby today.
According to Zahid, there are 315 North Koreans in Malaysia. Those with valid visas and work permits continue to be allowed to stay in the country.
All 191 North Koreans under the Malaysia My Second Home programme are also permitted to continue to stay in this country.
Zahid also confirmed that the body of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, kept at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL), has been embalmed.
Bilateral ties between Malaysia and North Korea strained after the murder of Jong-nam at KL International Airport 2 on February 13 before he was to fly to Macau.
The situation worsened after North Korean ambassador Kang Chol made unfounded accusations and belittled Malaysia over the investigation into the murder. Kang Chol was then declared persona non-grata and left Malaysia on March 6.
The next day Pyongyang banned Malaysians from leaving North Korea and in tit-for-tat, KL took the same action against North Koreans here. — Bernama