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Pilot Grateful Able To Bring Home Malaysians From Pyongyang

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SEPANG – It was a moment of relief for Lieutenant Colonel Hasrizan Kamis when
the aircraft, with nine stranded Malaysians in North Korea inside, which he
was piloting was given the green light to depart from the Pyongyang
International Airport.

He said the Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) Bombardier Global Express
aircraft was supposed to depart from the airport at 6.30 pm Thursday Malaysian
time, but postponed to 7.45 pm (Malaysian time).

“The reason is not known, but since we were on foreign land, we just follow
them,” he said when met by the media at the Bunga Raya Complex of the Kuala
Lumpur International Airport here today.

Hasrizan said he and eight crew in the flight arrived at the Pyongyang
International Airport at 5.30 pm (Malaysian time Thursday) for the mission to
bring home the nine Malaysian nationals.

The nine Malaysians, who are Malaysian Embassy staff in Pyongyang and their
families, were barred from leaving North Korea since March 7 following the
tension between Malaysia and North Korea in the aftermath of the murder of North
Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, here last Feb 13.

Hasrizan and the crew, who were informed of the mission last Monday, were
not in their RMAF uniform, but clad in normal flight crew uniform, to avoid
problems with the authorities in North Korea.

On the return flight, he said, the aircraft stopped at the Fuzhou Changle
International Airport in China for refueling before continuing its journey to
Malaysia.

Such a mission is the second for Hasrizan. His first was bringing home
Malaysians in Libya in 2011.

The aircraft carrying the nine Malaysians from Pyongyang touched down at the
Bunga Raya Complex, KLIA, at 5.03 am and present to welcome them home were Home
Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and their family members.

They are the Ambassador’s personal assistant Noor Saaidah Jamaluddin, 29,
and her husband, Mohd Radzuan Othman, 29, and their eight-month-old son Mohamad
Radhiy; administrative assistant S. Nirmala Malar, 45; Counselor Mohd Nor Azrin
Md Zain, 37, his wife Iza Karmila Ramli, 35, and their three children, Annur
Zulaikha, 6, Aynur Zhafirah, 5, and Ayscha Zinnirah, 3.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in a statement yesterday, said
that the nine Malaysians who were barred from leaving North Korea, were allowed
to return to Malaysia.

Following the development, Najib said Malaysia would allow North Korean
nationals to leave the country.

Tensions between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang arose following the murder of
Kim Jong-nam, 46, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the
Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) here on Feb 13.

Jong-nam was killed using the VX nerve agent which was smeared on his face
by two foreign women while he was waiting for flight to Macau at the airport.

The diplomatic tiff came about after North Korea’s Ambassador to Malaysia
Kang Chol made wild allegations against Malaysia on how it handled the case,
resulting in Malaysia declaring him persona non grata.

Kang Chol left Kuala Lumpur on March 6.

Pyongyang retaliated by expelling Malaysia’s Ambassador to North Korea.
On March 7, Pyongyang barred Malaysians in North Korea from leaving that
country and Kuala Lumpur took the same action in a tit-for-tat move.
–BERNAMA

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