Thursday, January 14, 2021

Ex-ministers, one facing corruption case, eyeing ambassador’s job?

It is understood that at least three former ministers have been silently campaigning for diplomatic jobs.

Other News

Latest smart mask features microphone, coloured lights and N95 respirator

Wearers can customise their look by activating two coloured lighting zones for social occasions

Perjanjian pengecualian visa UAE, Israel diluluskan

Perjanjian berkenaan akan berkuat kuasa dalam tempoh 30 hari.

Kumpulan alam sekitar gesa pertimbang semula pembukaan kilang bateri di Jenjarom

Industri berat dan berasaskan pembuatan bateri tidak sesuai dijalankan di kampung itu.

Heed protest to battery manufacturing plant, green group tells Selangor authorities

SAM says no heavy industry activities should be carried out in the area which is close to residential areas and has been zoned for small and medium industries.

India’s massive Ganges pilgrimage continues despite Covid-19 risks

Several million people are expected to throng the holy city in Uttarakhand state over the coming seven weeks.

Feathers have been ruffled within the Malaysian diplomatic community over attempts by several politicians, including former ministers, to land jobs as ambassadors in key Western capitals, MalaysiaNow has learnt through sources familiar in the field.

It is understood that at least three former ministers have been silently campaigning for diplomatic jobs including in the US and Switzerland.

Any such move would mean reversing the previous government’s policy not to appoint non-career diplomats as ambassadors.

A source in Wisma Putra, which houses Malaysia’s foreign ministry, confirmed attempts to reverse the policy.

“Yes, but as far as we understand, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is committed to abiding by the policy,” the source said.

When contacted, a source in Putrajaya confirmed that no decision had been made.

“The Cabinet has been in recess due to several members being told to quarantine themselves,” it said.

In July 2018, newly appointed foreign minister Saifudddin Abdullah announced that ambassadors would only be assigned from among those “who meet the job requirements and are capable of doing the job”.

“Ambassadors must be selected from the pool of trained diplomats who can do their job well,” he said.

His statement came amid resistance encountered by the Pakatan Harapan government from politically appointed diplomats just months after the coalition took over power in May 2018.

It planned at the time to replace them with career diplomats, a move welcomed by the diplomatic community.

Politically appointed top diplomats during the Najib Razak administration included Zahrain Mohamed Hashim (Indonesia), Bernard Dompok (Vatican), Blanche O’Leary, the wife of MyPPP president M Kayveas (Finland), Zulhasnan Rafique (US) and Hasan Malek (Cambodia).

Other prominent politicians who became diplomats during the Barisan Nasional era include former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam who became Malaysia’s special envoy to the United Nations, and the late Jamaluddin Jarjis, who served in Washington.

MalaysiaNow meanwhile understands that at least one former minister who is hoping to be sent overseas is embroiled in a corruption case. However, it cannot independently verify the claim.

“But it is not certain whether a top diplomat’s job would ensure him freedom,” said a source in Umno.

When contacted for comments, former ambassador Dennis Ignatius warned that any move to appoint politicians, especially those implicated in financial improprieties, would be “a huge mistake”.

“It will mean the end of the career foreign service, the politicisation of our foreign policy and a setback to decades of promoting Malaysia overseas,” Ignatius, a former ambassador to Canada with 36 years’ experience in the foreign service, told MalaysiaNow.

“It is also terribly disrespecting of the countries they are sent to.

“But coming after the takeover of GLC positions by politicians, I am not surprised. This government is so shameless and self-seeking that everything is being bartered for political support. At this rate, one of the consequences will be the complete political takeover of all institutions of government with a resulting loss of integrity, creditability and professionalism.”

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/malaysianow

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Period poverty afflicts urban poor as pandemic continues

Many do not have even the basic necessities for personal hygiene, a situation that could turn worse as the Covid-19 pandemic takes its toll on the finances of the urban poor.

Najib stares at last mile in politics as virus emergency begins

If the Court of Appeal and Federal Court maintain Najib's conviction in the SRC International case, the former prime minister might have to take a break from politics until 2033.

PKP tak berfungsi tanpa kuasa darurat, kata bekas hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan

Bekas hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan, Gopal Sri Ram mengatakan pelaksanaan darurat adalah dibenarkan undang-undang, malah bertepatan dari sudut perubatan dan menolak dakwaan ia mencabul hak asasi.

MCO won’t work without emergency powers, says former apex court judge

Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram says the emergency move is legally and medically justified, dismissing claims that it will undermine basic freedoms.

KL’s ‘free trade zones’ a lifeline for those struggling to get by

Many traders who lost their previous jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic say they have benefited immensely from the government's permission to conduct business in these areas.