The state Immigration Department has begun rounding up 140 North Korean nationals working in Sarawak with expired work permits, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg announced today.
He told reporters that these North Koreans were all employed by the private sector.
“They included 37 North Korean workers who were rounded up from a construction site in Bintulu yesterday,” said Abang Johari.
He added that only 36 North Koreans are working in the state still have valid work permits, who are also working in construction.
Yesterday, Abang Johari said there are 170 North Korean citizens currently working in Sarawak.
He clarified that the latest figure released by the state Immigration Department showed there are 176 North Koreans working in the construction industry, bridge building, and as hydroelectric projects consultants.
He said the North Koreans were taken in as workers following requests from the private sector to the state government.
“We agreed to the requests as these workers have specialised skills which the locals do not have,” he said.
Abang Johari also said there is no record of Sarawakians visiting the reclusive state.
“Those who are still at the Malaysian Embassy in North Korea are from Peninsular Malaysia,” he added.
Yesterday, the Sarawak government said it is waiting for instructions from Putrajaya on how to deal with North Koreans working in the state.
In 2014, then Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had said that only Sarawak had allowed workers from North Korea to be employed, but not in other states.
Source : @ Malay Mail Online