PUTRAJAYA: Visitors from North Korea to Malaysia will be required to apply for visas beginning March 6.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid said the move was for security purposes after taking into account recent developments involving citizens of that country.
“We will gazette this and visas for North Korean visitors are a must starting Monday,” he said Thursday.
Currently, Malaysian passport-holders are the only visitors who can travel to North Korea without a visa, and vice versa.
Diplomatic ties between the two countries have soured since the Feb 13 murder of Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea has criticised Malaysia’s handling of the investigation, and is demanding Malaysia hand over the body.
Malaysia, for its part, is standing firm that the body can only be returned to Jong-nam’s next of kin.
Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said he was waiting to be briefed by the ministry's legal adviser and the Attorney-General's Chambers on the status of the North Korean chemist held over the death of Jong-nam.
“We will know in the next few hours whether the man will be released or investigated under Immigration Act or be deported,” he said.
According to reports, the chemist, Ri Jong Chol, is expected to be released from police custody when his remand order expires Friday.