Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that negotiations between North Korea and Malaysia over the safe return of Malaysians prevented from leaving the reclusive state started last week.
“Still ongoing, started last Monday,” he said, when asked about the negotiations by reporters in Parliament House today.
Quizzed if this means that formal negotiations have started, he said that it is still being handled at the government officials-level and not yet kicked upstairs to high-level representatives from both sides.
“That (formal negotiations) is (by) high-level person, but at official level, negotiation has taken place,” he answered.
Nine Malaysians still remain in North Korea after they were prevented from leaving, the reclusive nation said, in announcing that they remain as collateral for the safe return of its diplomat and citizens in Malaysia.
This was after Malaysia and North Korea got into a diplomatic row following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of the reclusive state’s leader Kim Jong-un in KLIA2.
Malaysia have since retaliated and also banned North Koreans from leaving.
Two Malaysians who were in North Korea while working for the United Nations World Food Programme were however allowed to leave, due to their status as international public servants, unaffiliated with any nation.Meanwhile, when asked about what will become to Jong-nam’s body now that the family members have left it to Putrajaya to handle, he said that “We will get advice from the attorney-general to decide on that,” he responded.
Earlier today, deputy police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim said that after positive DNA confirmation was obtained, the family of Jong-nam has decided to leave it to Putrajaya to handle Jong-nam’s body.
Zahid also said that the DNA confirmation was obtained after Malaysian authorities went abroad to an undisclosed location, to get the DNA samples from Jong-nam’s son.