9:04 am - Sunday November 8, 2015

Malaysia to send impeach to New Zealand, if needed

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Malaysia said on Tuesday a junior military official at its diplomatic mission in New Zealand returned home in disgrace using diplomatic immunity last month after being charged with sexual assault.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman told reporters that a defence ministry panel will investigate Second Warrant Office Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail, 38, and “stern action will be taken” if he is found guilty. It was not immediately clear what punishment he faced under Malaysia’s military rules.

“Diplomatic immunity is not a license for them to commit crime,” he said.

Mr. Anifah said Muhammad Rizalman was working at the Malaysian High Commission, or embassy, in Wellington for the past one year as a defence staff assistant when he was detained on May 9 for allegedly following a 21-year-old woman home and assaulting her.

Mr. Anifah said the accused will be sent back to New Zealand “if it is absolutely necessary.” Asked to elaborate, Mr. Anifah said “I will consider sending him back” if New Zealand thinks that the Malaysian investigation is not being conducted properly and requests for his extradition.

The differing versions of the events could not be immediately reconciled, and Mr. Anifah said bilateral ties will not be hurt because Malaysia is cooperating closely with New Zealand.

The defence ministry has established a board of inquiry to investigate the case thoroughly and has given an assurance that “it will not compromise or conceal any facts on the case being fully aware that Malaysia’s good name is at stake,” he said.

Although this is an isolated case the government views the issue seriously. “The Malaysian government acknowledges that the incident is a serious matter and we do not have any intention to sweep the matter under the carpet.”

 

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