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North Korea severs ties with Malaysia over “unpardonable” US extradition

Maya Taylor

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North Korea severs ties with Malaysia over “unpardonable” US extradition | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thomas Evans on Unsplash

The reclusive country of North Korea has confirmed a severing of diplomatic ties with Malaysia after its one-time ally agreed to extradite a North Korean citizen to the US. According to the Bangkok Post, Pyongyang has described the extradition as an “unpardonable crime”, accusing Malaysia of responding to US pressure with blind obedience.

The country’s foreign ministry has announced that all ties with Malaysia have been cut, insisting the North Korean citizen facing extradition was carrying out legal trading activities in Singapore. Following a hearing at Malaysia’s top court on March 9, Mun Chol Myong lost his final appeal against extradition to the US. He denies charges of money laundering, conspiring to launder money, and supplying prohibited items to North Korea.

In the past, a number of businesses in Singapore have been accused of sending items such as expensive liquor and watches to the country, thereby violating sanctions imposed on Pyongyang as a result of its nuclear weapons programmes.

North Korea and Malaysia enjoyed a close relationship until the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother at Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017. Kim Jong Un’s estranged relative, Kim Jong Nam, was killed as he waited to board a flight. An Indonesian woman and a Vietnamese woman were arrested after rubbing a banned nerve agent in Kim’s face. However, murder charges against them were dropped in 2019, with their lawyers arguing that they were merely pawns hired by a group of North Koreans. After hiring and training the women, the men fled Malaysia shortly after Kim’s assassination.

The murder of Kim Jong Nam, widely thought to have been ordered by his half-brother, led to a distinct frostiness in relations between Malaysia and North Korea, with reciprocal visa-free travel pacts cancelled and North Korean coal mine workers in Borneo sent home. It looked like the situation was improving when Malaysia recently announced the re-opening of its embassy in Pyongyang, but the latest developments mean relations are on a downhill trajectory once more.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Friday, March 19, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    that is blessing
    Not a punishment

    North Korea is one country that will cause many problems to the world in the future

    Away from them great news
    Wonder how THailand is going with North Korea never hear much about that ?
    Good Luck Thailand

  2. Avatar

    J West

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Strange that a set of female assassin’s were freed after admissions of guilt ” smearing a banned nerve agent on the victims face”. Normally, that’s premeditated murder in the first degree.

  3. Avatar

    Mike

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    So funny. Big baby North Korea, shame on the Malaysians for being allied with this piss pot country in the first place.

  4. Avatar

    chupapi

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Nobody here cares about NK though…

  5. Avatar

    lou

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    @J West
    Ladies were practicing Songkran, they had no idea that liquid was dangerous…. Hence the real meaning of being innocent

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Malaysia

Malaysia PM imposes nationwide travel ban, lockdown measures due to Covid-19 spike

Caitlin Ashworth

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Malaysia PM imposes nationwide travel ban, lockdown measures due to Covid-19 spike | Thaiger
PHOTO: Malaysian PM Muhyiddin Yassin - The Star

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to climb in Malaysia, PM Muhyiddin Yassin imposed a nationwide travel ban and ordered lockdown measures for Kuala Lumpur and 5 other states for the next 14 days. The country’s prime minister says “our healthcare system is at a breaking point.”

Malaysia was able to keep the coronavirus at bay during the early stages of the pandemic with strict disease control measures. Covid-19 cases were consistently around 100 to 200 cases per day and dropped down to zero daily cases for several weeks in July and August.

While lockdown measures were effective at slowing the spread of the virus, it led the country’s first economic contraction in a decade during the second quarter.

The new wave of infections started in September. Yesterday, the country reported 28,554 active Covid-19 cases with 2,232 daily new infections. Since February of last year, Malaysia has reported a total of 138,224 Covid-19 cases and 555 deaths.

Lockdown measures in Kuala Lumpur and 5 states start at midnight Wednesday. Only essential businesses can remain open including those in economic sectors, as long as they reduce capacity. Interstate travel is banned nationwide.

Malaysia secured 12.8 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and recently announced that they purchased 12.2 million more doses. The first batch is expected to arrive by the end of February.

Malaysia PM imposes nationwide travel ban, lockdown measures due to Covid-19 spike | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Malaysia as of January 11, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Reuters

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World

Malaysia coast guard busts record methamphetamine shipment, possibly smuggled from Golden Triangle

Caitlin Ashworth

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Malaysia coast guard busts record methamphetamine shipment, possibly smuggled from Golden Triangle | Thaiger
PHOTO: New Strait Times

Malaysia’s coast guard made its largest bust, seizing more than 2 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine that was hidden in packets of Chinese tea. The shipment of illegal drugs, worth 105.9 million ringgit, or 789 million baht, is part of a large-scale drug trade across Southeast Asia, China and Australia.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director general, Mohamad Zubil Mat Som, says the coast guard noticed a recreational boat moving “suspiciously” off Penang island. The coast guard followed the boat, which turned into a chase when the 26 year old Malaysian driver, the only occupant on the boat, refused to stop.

The driver jumped off the boat. The coast guard later found the man and arrested him. There is a mandatory death penalty for convicted drug traffickers in Malaysia.

The coast guard say they found 2.12 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine hidden in packets of Chinese tea, the largest bust in the maritime agency’s 15 year history. Drug shipments busted by the maritime agency in the past were disguised in similar tea packaging. Officials are still investigating to determine where the drugs were shipped from, but Mohamad suspects it came from Myanmar because of the writing on the packaging.

“It is highly possible that the crystal methamphetamine was smuggled from Myanmar’s Golden Triangle.”

Southeast Asian regional representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Jeremy Douglas, says the region needs to step up and think ahead to prevent future drug shipments.

“As big as two-plus tonnes is – and it’s massive – the syndicates that run the drug trade in Asia can easily replace shipments like this… The region needs a forward looking strategy that addresses root causes if they ever hope to get ahead of the situation.”

SOURCE: Reuters| AFP

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Business

Air Asia to focus on ASEAN expansion, as CEO expresses cautious optimism for 2021

Maya Taylor

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Air Asia to focus on ASEAN expansion, as CEO expresses cautious optimism for 2021 | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Air Asia’s chief executive, Tony Fernandes, says the low-cost carrier is planning to expand its presence in Southeast Asia and is in talks to form 3 new airlines. He points out that people still want to travel, and that demand makes him hopeful air travel could be back to its pre-Covid numbers within 6 – 12 months.

“At the right time we will make the announcements, but definitely our strength is Southeast Asia and that’s where most of our expansion is going to be over the next 2 to 3 years.”

Just 3 weeks ago, AirAsia Japan Co has filed for bankruptcy with the Tokyo District Court after rumours the month before the Japanese franchise would cease operations due to the weak demand caused by regional border closures and the weakness in aviation business.

But flights between Japan and destinations such as Bangkok are being operated by other AirAsia subsidiaries.

The Japanese arm of Malaysia’s AirAsia Group Bhd received a provisional administration order from the court 3 weeks ago.

“Given AirAsia Japan’s current financial position, we regret to inform that AirAsia Japan is currently unable to settle the outstanding refunds. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers who have used or booked AirAsia Japan flights.”

Tony Fernandes says domestic air travel in Thailand is already back to where it was prior to the pandemic* and is likely to surpass previous levels by the end of the year. He adds that Air Asia’s business as more of a medium-haul carrier than a long-haul operation, will stand it in good stead.

Meanwhile, Fernandes says Air Asia is turning a lot of its aircraft into cargo planes, while assessing its AirAsia India operation, a joint venture with the Tata Group. The carrier is also moving further into the digital sphere. Air Asia recently launched a super app, offering digital payment services, delivery services, and an e-commerce platform… and flights.

Fernandes says Air Asia’s digital business is already further ahead than expected, with the carrier applying for digital banking licences in a number of countries in Southeast Asia. It’s understood the company plans to roll out financial lending in Malaysia from January, and also has plans for the insurance and wealth management sectors.

*Fact check – Domestic flight demand in Thailand is currently back to around 60-70% of pre-Covid levels, not back to the same level.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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