KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Home Ministry has denied that there was a lapse in national security surveillance systems that resulted in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Malaysian soil.
Speaking in parliament on Monday (Mar 20), Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said there was no way the government could have known that Kim had entered the country because he had used a passport under the name Kim Chol.
“No, we did not overlook (this),” said Mr Nur Jazlan. “How could we have known that he had entered using a different name?”
Opposition MP Tian Chua responded: “Did you expect foreign agents to all use their own names? Like 007?”
Seven North Koreans are wanted by Malaysian police in connection to the murder of Kim Jong Nam on Feb 13. Four were said to have returned to Pyongyang, while another three are believed to be hiding in the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said on Sunday that the police will be bringing in more North Korean suspects for questioning in the days ahead, including an “important person” whom he refused to identify.
North Korean agents are reportedly conducting their own parallel investigation into the incident after the Malaysian police rejected a proposal for a joint probe into the murder.
One of the murder suspects, a 25-year-old Indonesian named Siti Aisyah, has claimed she was paid by a young and handsome North Korean man known only as James to carry out pranks on strangers for a reality TV show.
A beauty salon proprietor in a Kuala Lumpur suburb who did not want to be named said: “They (North Korean agents) have been going from shop to shop, asking about Siti’s friends … They said they were from Pyongyang and investigating a political plot.”
Sources said she first met James at the Beach Club in Kuala Lumpur in January and later followed him to Cambodia. In Phnom Penh, she is said to have met another North Korean, Hong Song Hac, who allegedly gave her oil to apply on Kim’s face.
Hong, together with three other North Koreans, are now on Interpol’s red notice list in connection with the murder.