Malaysia tightens borders to prevent North Koreans from leaving

KANGAR (BERNAMA) - The Perlis Immigration Department is stepping up monitoring at the Malaysia-Thai border to ensure that no North Koreans leave through the neighbouring country.

Its director, Mohd Amir Othman said the measure was taken as per instructions received on Tuesday (March 7) from the Home Ministry.

The Padang Besar border crossing, the main route of entry or exit between Malaysia and Thailand in Perlis, is open from 6am to 10pm while the other one at Wang Kelian is open from 7am to 7pm.

He also clarified claims that the border crossing in Perlis is open 24 hours were false, after the rumours went viral.

In Alor Setar, the Kedah Immigration Department was also employing similar measures at the Kedah-Thailand border.

Its director, Zuhair Jamaludin said steps had been taken to tighten border controls as soon as the directive was issued.

Meanwhile, the Johor Immigration Department said that it will ensure that no North Korean citizens leave the country through the Johor-Singapore border.

Its director Datuk Rohaizi Bahari said the move would be implemented until there is a decision to the contrary from the government.

North Korea on Tuesday banned Malaysians from leaving the country, with Malaysia responding in kind, closing its borders to North Koreans who wanted to leave.

Soon after North Korea announced its travel ban, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak condemned the move and said he was barring North Koreans from leaving the country.

The strain in ties came following the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.