Vocal politician Tajuddin Abdul Rahman is poised to travel to Jakarta later this month to begin his duties as Malaysia’s ambassador to Indonesia, confirming months of speculation surrounding his appointment.
MalaysiaNow has learnt from diplomatic sources that the Pasir Salak MP’s appointment to represent the country has received approval from Indonesian government.
MalaysiaNow has attempted to reach Wisma Putra and Tajuddin himself for comment.
Tajuddin will fill a diplomatic void in one of Malaysia’s most important overseas missions, where Zahrain Mohd Hashim was the last politician ambassador appointed by the Najib Razak administration.
Zahrain, a PKR turncoat from Penang, was replaced by Zainal Abidin Bakar after being terminated in 2018 as part of the short-lived Pakatan Harapan government’s policy of not appointing politicians as diplomats.
Rumours of Tajuddin’s appointment had generated protest from opposition MPs since they were first reported by Indonesian media. They gained momentum when the politician was included in Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s official delegation to meet President Joko Widodo last November.
In May last year, the administration of then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin sacked Tajuddin from his position as chairman of the government’s public transportation company Prasarana following remarks deemed insensitive in the aftermath of an LRT collision in Kuala Lumpur which left dozens of passengers injured.
The 74-year-old economics graduate was an Internal Security Act detainee during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration, and saw his political fortunes rise after he won the Pasir Salak constituency in 2008.
He is among a group of Umno backbenchers who are vocal in the Dewan Rakyat, but broke ranks with the faction aligned with former leader Najib Razak and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi when the duo launched a campaign to oust Muhyiddin as prime minister.