NZ sex assault: Wellington satisfied with Putrajaya's commitment

NZ sex assault: Wellington satisfied with Putrajaya's commitment
McCULLY: Accepted Anifah's explanation that Malaysia's decision to decline New Zealand's request for immunity to be lifted was driven by Mindef's desire to put in place a robust judicial process to deal with this matter.
KUALA LUMPUR: Wellington is satisfied with the commitment shown by Putrajaya regarding the ongoing investigation on a Malaysian official, who was accused of an attempted burglary and sexual assault on a woman last month.

Its Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, as quoted in Wellington's official website, revealed that he had already spoken to Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman to clarify any misunderstanding relating to the diplomat.

"The Malaysian Foreign Minister is absolutely committed to the alleged offender facing a proper judicial process.

"The individual concerned is a military person and the Malaysian Chief of Defence Force (Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin) has established a Board of Inquiry process. Minister Anifah assured me that any material provided by New Zealand Police will be placed before the Board of Inquiry," he said.

Previously, it was reported that the diplomat, with the rank of second warrant officer from the Malaysian Defence Ministry (Mindef), was attached to the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington for a year.

He had been apprehended by the New Zealand police on May 9, and the next day, the accused was brought to court for the charges of burglary and assault with the intent to commit rape.

However, Anifah, in a press statement Tuesday, revealed that the accused was given green light by Wellington to return to Malaysia with his family on May 22.

Meanwhile, McCully said, he accepted Anifah's explanation that Malaysia's decision to decline New Zealand's request for immunity to be lifted was driven by Mindef's desire to put in place a robust judicial process to deal with this matter.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has this evening provided me with the correspondence between New Zealand and Malaysian officials on this matter.

"While the formal request is absolutely unambiguous in seeking the lifting of immunity, it is now clear to me that officials engaged in informal communications over what is a complex case, in a manner that would have been ambiguous to the Malaysian government," he said.

McCully added that all he could say right now was Malaysian side had acted entirely in good faith.

"I have emphasised to my Malaysian counterpart the New Zealand government's commitment to justice for the victim in this case, and my colleague assures me that the Malaysian Government shares this view," he said further.