KEMAMAN, Apr 1 – Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor has praised the government and the Royal Malaysian Air Force for successfully bringing home the nine Malaysians who were stranded in North Korea. He said that he was following closely developments on the case and was much relieved when the negotiations between the Malaysian government and Pyongyang were concluded successfuly to enable the nine to be brought home safely.
“As the Armed Forces chief, I was monitoring closely the mission to bring them back home, it was a long night yesterday. But thank God our government showed good leadership leading to a resolution to the crisis. I am also proud our RMAF pilots succeeded in bringing home all of them safely,” he told reporters after opening the 37th annual general meeting of the Kemaman branch of the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association here today.
The nine Malaysians, all embassy staff and their families who were prevented from leaving North Korea due to a diplomatic spat between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang, arrived at the KL International Airport on a Bombardier Global Express jet belonging to RMAF at 5am yesterday. At the controls of the jet was RMAF 2nd Squadron commanding officer Lt Col Hasrizan Kamis.
Malaysia-North Korea relations took a nosedive following the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airpot 2 (klia2) on Feb 13. The diplomatic spat erupted after North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol made baseless allegations against Malaysia over the handling of the case, resulting in Malaysia declaring him persona non grata.
On March 7, Pyongyang retaliated by preventing Malaysians in North Korea from leaving that country and Malaysia responded with a tit-for-tat move, which also has since been rescinded. On other matters, Raja Mohamed Affandi urged more companies to hire veterans saying they were an ‘available force’ who were resilient, loyal and still had much to offer to society. — Bernama