Malaysia cancels visa-free entry for North Koreans amidst Kim Jong Nam murder investigation

North Koreans, who plan to travel to Malaysia, have to obtain a visa from 6 March.

Picture for representation
Picture for representation Reuters

Malaysia has decided to cancel visa-free entry for North Koreans in the country, citing national security reasons. The new rule, which will make obtaining visa compulsory for North Korean travellers, will be effective from 6 March.

The move comes amidst ongoing investigation on Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, murder. It has been two weeks since the eldest son of Kim Jong-il, leader of North Korea was killed at the Kuala Lumpur airport with a toxic nerve agent.

According to South Korea and the US, Kim Jong Nam, who was considered the heir apparent to his father, was murdered by agents of the North Korean regime.

Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid, said on Thursday that he is waiting to be briefed by the ministry's legal adviser and the Attorney-General's Chambers on the status of the North Korean chemist, who has been arrested in connection with Jong Nam's death. "We will know in the next few hours whether the man will be released or investigated under Immigration Act or be deported," he said, as reported.

Meanwhile, Jong Nam's body remains in a Kuala Lumpur mortuary. Malaysia said it will only hand over the body to immediate relatives who can provide a DNA sample and conducted a post-mortem. However, North Korea contested the decision saying that it should be able to claim the body of one of its citizens.