Malaysian officials claim they 'know better' as they insist Irish girl wasn't abducted

Malaysian officials claim they 'know better' as they insist Irish girl wasn't abducted
Meabh Quoirin with her daughter Nóra who has gone missing while on holiday in Malaysia (Family handout/PA)

Malaysian officials have said they "know better" and insist a missing Irish girl has not been abducted from her room, in direct conflict with the belief of her frantic family who insist she would not have wandered off from the nature resort.

The family of Nóra Quoirin - who has special needs - say they discovered her missing from her bedroom at the Dusun resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on Sunday morning.

They have repeatedly stated that they believe the 15-year old has been abducted, a theory played down by both police and politicians in Malaysia.

As the search for Nóra enters its fourth day, Malaysia’s Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called for an end to speculation on the disappearance.

"I was informed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police that it is a ‘missing person’ case and they do not think anyone else is involved,” he said in comments reported by the Malaysian Star.

Don’t try to be too clever. Use the official statement issued by the Royal Malaysia Police, more so when the incident involves a foreign national.

"What other people say is not important because the police know better. Everyone who comes to our country is safe and does not face problems,” he said.

The same outlet reported that Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor issued a similar warning.

"This is to protect the sensitivity of the girl's family, as well as to avoid any speculation which could jeopardise the search operations,” he said.

"We have no reason to believe there is any criminal element involved in this case, and as such, it has been classified as a missing persons report," he said.

However Nóra's family said they have "no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost".

In a statement released today, they simply stated that her family "believe she has been abducted".

"We are especially worried because Nóra has learning and developmental disabilities, and is not like other 15-year-olds.

"She looks younger, she is not capable of taking care of herself, and she won't understand what is going on.

"She never goes anywhere by herself. We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost."

Police have expanded the search for Nóra, with more than 160 personnel now looking for the teenager.

Malaysian officials claim they 'know better' as they insist Irish girl wasn't abducted

Those searching dense jungle and hilly terrain on foot and by helicopter include police, the fire and rescue services department, civil defence and the forestry department.

Sniffer dogs are also being used in the search for Nóra, who is the daughter of an Irish-French couple who have lived in London for about 20 years.

State deputy police chief Che Zakaria Othman said local indigenous people - known as Orang Asli - are also helping with the search.

"We've got a platoon from the general operations force as well as a police canine team to look for Nóra Anne," he told The Star, adding that more personnel are expected to join the search.

He added that the CCTV system at the resort is limited to the counter area.

"The girl's passport and other belongings are with the family," he said.

Negeri Sembilan police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop told a press conference that there was no evidence Nóra had been abducted.

"We have no clues, no evidence to say this case is abduction," the police chief said. "We will do our very best. We will not give up hope. We believe that she didn't go far and that she had lost her way."

He said that sniffer dogs had picked up the teenager's scent within 100 metres from her resort bedroom but the trail stopped there.

He added the girl's mother had reported that she was only in her undergarments when they put her to bed but it was unclear if she was dressed when she disappeared because nobody saw her leave.

Villagers who joined in the search expressed concern over Nóra's fate.

"This particular jungle, for outsiders, they don't know how to navigate, they get lost. Natives like me, we are used to this jungle," said Bali anak Akau.

Haanim Bamadhaj, a resort spokesman, said the Dusun management is baffled by Nóra's disappearance.

Resort staff and even some guests had earlier joined in the search, she said.

"Our resort has been operating for 10 years and we have never even been robbed. We are doing our very best and praying hard," she said.

Following Nóra's disappearance, she said some guests had cancelled their bookings and that the resort had provided full refunds.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page set up by Nóra’s mother’s family in Belfast has raised £27,150 since Sunday.

Donations are to help cover the costs of sending family members to Malaysia to assist with the search.

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