KUALA LUMPUR - The DNA used to identify Kim Jong-nam’s body was from his son, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said Malaysian officials had gone to the location of the son to retrieve the DNA.
“We went there and collected the DNA,” he said.
Asked on the whereabouts of the son and what DNA it was, he said he could not reveal the details.
The Deputy Prime Minister added that he would check on the consent documents submitted by the next of kin through the Foreign Ministry on what to do with the body.
“The police will make a decision based on their request,” he said.
Although Dr Ahmad Zahid did not give names, Jong-nam was believed to have two sons, including Kim Han-sol.
Dr Ahmad Zahid stressed that North Korea cannot ask for the body to be sent back without the next of kin’s approval.
On the nine Malaysians barred from leaving North Korea, he said negotiations to bring them home have been ongoing since Monday.
“I don’t have to reveal where and with whom, and it has not gone to the higher level.
“The timing of the negotiations would be subject to the recommendations of the high-level officers,” he said.
On Wednesday, Dr Ahmad Zahid disclosed that the man murdered at KLIA2 was Jong-nam.
Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said Jong-nam’s family had given permission to the Government to manage his remains.
“Further action on the body has yet to be decided.
“However, for now, the family has given the permission to our Government to be in charge,” he told a press conference after launching the Youth and TN50: National Security Perspective seminar, organised by NGO Yayasan Pengaman at Kelab Shah Alam yesterday. Declining to elaborate on where and when discussions with Jong-nam’s family took place, Noor Rashid said the process was still ongoing.
He was commenting on whether the family had requested to claim Jong-nam’s body following the revelation that his next of kin had handed over DNA samples for the process of identification.
“As of now, custody of the body has been handed to the Health Ministry. Any further action will be the Government’s prerogative,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said the Government has not ruled out the possibility of handing over the body to North Korea in exchange for the Malaysians held there.
Police are still looking for three North Koreans wanted for questioning in connection with Jong-nam’s murder.
They are North Korean Embassy Second Secretary Hyon Kwang-song, 44, Air Koryo employee Kim Uk-il, 37, and Ri Ji-u, 30, who is also known as James.
Four other North Koreans have fled the country. They are Rhi Ji-hyon, 33, Hong Song-hac, 34, O Jong-gil, 55, and Ri Jae-nam, 57.
The four entered the country separately days before the murder and left for Jakarta from KLIA2 just after the attack on Feb 13.
Jong-nam was murdered at KLIA2 after two women smeared a chemical, identified as VX nerve agent, on his face.
Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aisyah have been charged with the murder.