Dr Mahathir Mahathir has cautioned Malaysia against making North Korea an enemy over the current diplomatic row.
The former premier said the government must be wise in handling the crisis.
“This has never happened in Malaysia before, and so we are not skilled in handling the matter, to the point that it created tension between North Korea and us.
“Such things never happened during my time. I believe this is a lesson for us on how to handle similar problems in future,” he told reporters in Putrajaya.
In the past, Mahathir said Malaysia maintained a non-aligned stand and established good ties with all countries, regardless of their policies or ideologies.
“Now there is a slight policy difference. We are closer to some countries, and this curtails our freedom.
“It is better that we adopt the non-aligned policy because it is beneficial to us,” he added.
On the same note, Mahathir said the murder of Kim Jong-nam was replete with mysteries, including the motive of the killing.
“Our country is full of foreigners, and they bring in things which are not good for us. So we must be frank. We must establish the facts before making statements,” he added.
At present, North Korea has barred Malaysians from leaving the republic, prompting Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to announce a similar ban on North Koreans leaving Malaysia.
He also condemned North Korea over the move, which he claimed was tantamount to holding the Malaysians hostage.
There are 11 Malaysians in North Korea, including embassy staff and their families.
Police have charged two women, an Indonesian and Vietnamese national, over Jong-nam’s murder.
The two were accused of smearing the deceased with VX nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA 2) on Feb 13.
North Korea has accused Malaysia of fabricating evidence and colluding with outside forces, allegations which led to the expulsion of its ambassador.