KUALA LUMPUR – Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has lambasted North Korea for banning Malaysians there from temporarily leaving the country.
“Tantamount to taking hostages. This is unacceptable. DPRK (North Korea) must allow free passage of Malaysians at once,” he tweeted on Tuesday, in an immediate response to an AFP report stating that Pyongyang had prohibited all Malaysians from leaving until the Kim Jong-nam murder case is “properly solved.”
In an immediate reaction, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told an emergency press conference at the Dewan Rakyat that Malaysia would retaliate by preventing North Koreans based here from leaving.
He also confirmed that there were some Malaysians including diplomats still in North Korea, who have been prevented from leaving.
The exact number of Malaysians in North Korea is unknown.