Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Psychiatric tests delay diplomat

Muhammad Rizalman Ismail.
Muhammad Rizalman Ismail.

Malaysian officials are silent over when diplomat Warrant Officer 2 Muhammad Rizalman Ismail will be returned to New Zealand to face burglary and sexual assault charges.

The former Malaysian High Commission defence staff assistant remained in Malaysia last night, despite assurances last week he would be returned to New Zealand to assist police with the ongoing investigation into an incident on May 9 during which a 21-year-old Wellington woman was allegedly followed home and assaulted.

The 38- year-old father of three was expected to fly back today, but it now remains unclear after doctors say he may require further medical tests.

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He has been in the Tuanku Mizan Military Hospital since Tuesday for psychiatric evaluation.

Doctors assigned to Rizalman did not return the Herald's calls yesterday.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said arrangements for his return were still being determined.

"However we do not anticipate any issues related to diplomatic immunity with his return to New Zealand."

Meanwhile Malaysian defence minister Hishammudin Hussein said Rizalman should not be tried in the media and public.

There is also now a gag order preventing military colleagues from speaking to reporters.

"When talking about justice, justice must not only be done but also must be seen to have been done," said Mr Hishammudin

Rizalman has been warded at the Tuanku Mizan Military Hospital in KL since Tuesday under close watch. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"In this case, justice should be served not only to the victim but also to the accused."

The New Straits Times reported that Rizalman is occupying a four-bed room at the hospital alone under guard.

He was also being monitored by closed-circuit television.

- NZ Herald

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