KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 ― The tireless efforts of civil servants working behind the scenes to secure the safe return of nine Malaysians today from North Korea deserve praise, the prime minister said today.
PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the return of the nine showed Malaysia's government servants at their finest and that despite the challenges, they did their best.
"Their tireless and relentless efforts should be praised ― the efforts of negotiators, embassy officers, diplomats, medical officers, the police and many others," he said in a post on his blog today.
"Thank God, because of their efforts, all Malaysians that we were working to bring back, have returned safely. That is the most important," he added.
Earlier in his blog post, Najib said he had never once lost confidence in Malaysia's ability to pull through the challenge of bringing home the nine stranded Malaysians, adding that he was heartened to see everyone, regardless of their political beliefs and background, coming together in unity.
"This is the best from us as Malaysians, united and not playing politics when it comes to the country and its sovereignty," he said.
"We will never leave anyone behind, and when I say 'we', I believe that I am speaking for all 31 million Malaysians," he later said, adding that he hoped this incident would be a catalyst for Malaysians to stand united for the nation at all times instead of only during challenges.
Nine Malaysian embassy staff and their families had been stuck in North Korea since March 7 when the country barred them from leaving due to a diplomatic row with Malaysia. All nine of them returned early this morning.
The diplomatic tiff started after North Korea hurled accusations at Malaysia over the way it handled investigations on the February 13 assassination of North Korean leader's half-brother Kim Jong-nam.