: Malaysia will request for the extradition of the suspected hijackers of MT Orkim Harmony for prosecution in the country, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
He said the request for the extradition of the suspects would be submitted to Vietnam and Indonesia, the latest by this Tuesday.
"The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) will conduct further investigation following a preliminary investigation by the Vietnamese authorities.
"We thank the governments of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for the cooperation extended to the Malaysian authorities," he told reporters after performing the Tarawih prayer at the Al-Khairiah Mosque, Selekoh here, last night.
He did not rule out the possibility of an inside man involved in hijacking the Malaysian vessel.
However, he said, thorough investigation
would have to be conducted before any action could be taken.
MT Orkim Harmony, laden with 6,000 metric tonnes of petrol, worth RM21 million, was reported missing at 8.57 pm
last Thursday while on its way to Kuantan Port in Pahang from Melaka.
The vessel, owned by Magna Meridian Sdn. Bhd, was carrying 22 crew, comprising 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and a Myanmar national.
Following which an operation was carried out to track down the tanker. A P3C Orion belonging
to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) located the tanker at 210 nautical miles off Redang Island at 3.45 pm on June 17.
The missing MT Orkim Harmony was found safe, with its name changed to 'Kim Harmon' and its chimney painted black.
The Malaysian Navy then took over the search and rescue (SAR) operation and contacted the hijackers via radio, instructing them to release the 22 crew members.
The Navy also confirmed that there were eight hijackers armed with pistols and parangs
on the tanker and it was holding talks with the hijackers to release the crew and to surrender.
The 22 crew were released
at about 2.30 am yesterday.
However, one of them, Indonesian Mavit Matin, 46, who is a cook, was injured from a gun shot
wound in the thigh, and was flown by helicopter to Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM) for treatment.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese authorities detained eight Indonesian nationals, suspected to be the hijackers of the oil tanker, near Tho
Chu Island, South
Vietnam at about 6.30 am Friday.