Diplomat still under evaluation

Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail
FLED NEW ZEALAND: Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail

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Just when a Malaysian diplomat accused of sex crimes may return to New Zealand remains uncertain.

Conflicting reports in the past few days have suggested Muhammed Rizalman bin Ismail was on a plane back to New Zealand or he would not be sent because of poor health.

Rizalman remains in a military hospital near Kuala Lumpur undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

Malaysian defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein declined to reveal when Rizalman would be sent back to New Zealand to help police with their inquiries.

Rizalman, who worked at the Malaysian High Commission as a defence staff assistant, is alleged to have attacked a 21-year-old woman in her home in Brooklyn, Wellington, on May 9.

Hishammuddin said details of Rizalman's return were being worked out between the attorney-general's chambers and the New Zealand High Commission in Malaysia, but would not give a firm date for Rizalman to be sent back.

"What is wrong is wrong," Hishammuddin said. "Justice not only needs to be done but should also be seen to be done."

The Malaysian press were in a panic after unconfirmed sightings of Rizalman at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday morning.

People at the airport claimed to have seen someone resembling Rizalman being escorted into the departure hall by military personnel and a convoy of military vehicles were spotted nearby.

But at the weekend, The Herald On Sunday reported that Rizalman might not be well enough to travel, citing doctors at the Tuanku Mizan Military Hospital, where he has been since Tuesday last week.

There were also reports Rizalman had requested to stay in Malaysia until after Ramadan.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there was no new information regarding Rizalman's return and refused to comment on the media reports.

The Malaysian High Commission in Wellington also refused to comment.

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- The Dominion Post

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