KUCHING – The Sarawak government will discuss with the Home and Foreign ministries the status of North Korean workers in the state following Malaysia’s move to prevent North Korean citizens from leaving the country.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said there are about 170 North Koreans in Sarawak, working mainly in coal mining, bridge construction and hydroelectric dam projects.
“I am discussing with security forces on the status of the workers in view of what is happening at the moment, which has affected diplomatic relations between North Korea and Malaysia.
“We are waiting for advice from the Foreign Ministry,” he told reporters after opening a forest landscape forum here Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Malaysia stopped all North Korean diplomatic officers and staff from leaving the country in response to Pyongyang temporarily banning Malaysian citizens from leaving North Korea.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak later said he had instructed the Inspector-General of Police to prevent all North Korean citizens in Malaysia from leaving the country until the Government is assured of the safety and security of Malaysians in North Korea.
“However, protecting our citizens is my first priority, and we will not hesitate to take all measures necessary when they are threatened,” he said.