WSJ: N Koreans working in Malaysia help fund regime

pyongyang-malaysiaPETALING JAYA: Malaysia is listed among countries indirectly supporting the North Korean regime by allowing its nationals to work in the country, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported today.

About 300 North Koreans are said to be working in Malaysia, according to WSJ.

The number may be very small compared with the 50,000 North Koreans that WSJ says are working around the world but they seem to be working under the same condition.

Aside from working under slave-like conditions, the report says only a small part of the salary goes to the North Korean workers itself, with a larger portion being sent to Pyongyang.

The business daily reported about how 1,000 North Koreans working in Mongolia were supposed to be earning USD700 (RM2,800) but only USD200 went to the workers. The remaining USD500 was said to be paid to North Korean officials.

Almost 40,000 North Koreans are being employed in Russia and China, former and current communist nations that are long-time allies of the regime, which is currently led by its supreme leader Kim Jong-Un.

The United States has vowed to clampdown on the movement of North Korean workers by issuing an order to blacklist individuals identified as being agents for such activity.

Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, Phil Robertson was quoted as saying that the US was “leading the international community to send a clear message to mid-level North Korean officials that obeying orders to violate rights could have very negative consequences for them”.

Meanwhile, Malay Mail Online (MMO) reported that North Korean workers are employed in Sarawak for specialised work in the coal mining industry.

Quoting a statement from the Government in 2014, the news portal said the workers were brought in under a special agreement between the Sarawak state government and the North Korean government.

“No local or Sarawakian will dare to take up the dangerous jobs in the coal mines. That is why we need foreign workers. In the coal mining sector, only Britain, China and North Korea have highly-skilled workers,” then deputy home minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar reportedly said, according to MMO.