JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia has taken a step back as Malaysia investigates the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying that it will seek access to an Indonesian suspect only after the probe concludes.
"We respect the legal process that is currently underway in Malaysia and we'll continue to wait until they grant us consular access (to Siti Aisyah). That will be our focus," said Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry's director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad.
Malaysia's handling of the sensational murder of Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13 has raised just as many questions in Jakarta as it has in Kuala Lumpur.
Two female suspects, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huon, were detained last week based on CCTV footage of the incident.
Another two men, a Malaysian and a North Korean, have also been detained. Malaysian authorities remain in pursuit of four North Korean nationals also believed to be involved.
According to Malaysian law, the authorities reserve the right to deny consular access to a person involved in a legal case until the investigation has concluded.
Iqbal insisted, however, that it was too early to jump to any conclusions, noting the Malaysian investigators' decision to extend Siti's remand for another seven days due to a lack of evidence.
"It is too soon to make any legal inferences from the case," he said in a statement to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday (Feb 22).
Separately, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian told reporters that the police were also in contact with the Royal Malaysian Police.
Tito said he would leave it up to the Malaysian authorities to determine whether there was enough evidence to make a case against Siti and other persons of interest.
"We will look into it, but whether or not their testimonies are false will be completely up to [Malaysian authorities]," Tito told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
"If the (suspect) turns out to be innocent, then we cannot put our teeth into it. But if she is clearly proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, then she ought to be processed in accordance with the prevailing legal system (in Malaysia)."