Malaysian diplomat was "a bit quiet", says former neighbour in New Zealand

Muhammad Rizalman Ismail. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Muhammad Rizalman Ismail. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A resident in the neighbourhood where Malaysian diplomat Warrant Officer 2 Muhammad Rizalman Ismail used to live in New Zealand said his former neighbour was "a bit quiet".

Sean Gordon, who lives in the house directly behind the house where Muhammad Rizalman and his family stayed in Miles Cres in New­town, Wellington, said that Muhammad Rizalman moved into the neighbourhood about a year ago, replacing another Malaysian family who used to live there.

New Zealand's news portal quoted Gordon as saying he, with his partner, had brought the family a plant as a gift to welcome them to the neighbourhood.

"We did the Kiwi neighbourly thing, it's the Kiwi way and all that.

"He was really quiet, like he always had something on his mind," said Gordon.

Gordon said he had found the 38-year-old Malaysian diplomatic staff member to be "a bit quiet" although his wife and children were friendly.

Muhammad Rizalman has been accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman at her home in Wellington on May 9.

He reportedly followed her back to her home in Brooklyn which he broke into and allegedly assaulted her.

Gordon said Muhammad Rizalman had disappeared from the neighbourhood about a month ago, while his wife and children remained there.

"This is a guy whom I had a drink with, I even did all the weed killing for him," said Gordon.

Muhammad Rizalman will be sent back to New Zealand to assist authorities investigate the allegations following a diplomatic bungle over the handling of the case.

It is learnt that Muhammad Rizalman is expected to be sent back by this weekend.

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