KUALA LUMPUR: Only four North Korean nationals are currently residing in Malaysia under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz .
He also said none of the North Korean participants were among those suspected to be linked with the murder of Kim Jong-Nam last month.
Nazri said strict vetting procedures were applied to foreigners who wanted to be part of the programme to ensure their presence would not bring any security concerns to Malaysia.
“Those who want to be part of MM2H programme would have to go through various checks, including Immigration and security.
“According to our records, there are currently only four North Koreans under the MM2H programme in Malaysia,” he told theSun.
The figure from Nazri, however, was in stark contrast to that provided by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sunday, when he said a total of 193 North Korean citizens were staying in Malaysia under the MM2H programme.
In clarifying the matter, Nazri said the 193 individuals mentioned by Ahmad Zahid might have been the total number of applications by North Koreans received by the ministry to join the programme.
“That could have been the number of those who had applied, but rejected by the ministry. There is no guarantee that a person would be accepted into the programme automatically upon sending in an application.”
Nazri said the ministry has no plan to bar the participation of North Korean citizens in the MM2H programme in future despite the ongoing diplomatic row between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang following Jong-Nam’s murder.
“The programme will be continued as usual unless the government comes out with a policy to not allow any North Korean citizens from coming into the country.
“Unless I receive instructions not to allow them to participate, I do not think that I want to discriminate against them,” he added.
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who was asked today if police will take precautionary measures in monitoring North Koreans in Malaysia for espionage, replied: “Yes, they are being monitored for any activities detrimental to the security of our nation.”
On another matter, Khalid declined to comment on a foreign news report that claimed biometric samples and images of Jong-Nam that led to the positive identification of his body was provided by Japan and the United States.
“I will not comment on news made by a news agency,” he said.
THE SUN DAILY