Ambiga on ‘the outrageous appointment of Tajuddin’

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Veteran Umno lawmaker Tajuddin Abdul Rahman has often made the news for the wrong reasons because of his antics in and out of Parliament.

His most recent faux pas came in the aftermath of last year’s collision involving two LRT trains, which led to his removal as Prasarana Malaysia Bhd chairperson.

With such a colourful track record, it is no surprise that various quarters have criticised the Pasir Salak MP’s appointment as the next ambassador to Indonesia.

For Ambiga Sreenevasan, who quipped on Twitter that those who represent the nation abroad should be subjected to an IQ test first, the move could further erode Malaysia’s reputation.

When the question was posed to her, the former Bar president struggled to find the right words to express her disappointment over the appointment.

After a brief pause punctuated by a grunt of displeasure, she said: “Someone told me you can either laugh or cry about this. But I am going to cry for this one.”

“It is our reputation which will be destroyed by appointing someone like this,” she told Malaysiakini.

According to her, this is an obvious political appointment of someone with influence amongst the Umno grassroots or in other words, being rewarded for his role in keeping a government with a tenuous majority in power.

“I think we are making a joke of ourselves overseas when we do this. Tajuddin’s appointment is also an insult to Indonesia.

“How can you do this to Malaysia? Don’t you think we should project a good image abroad? When you send someone who is not going to do that, then you are failing Malaysia.

“We are all united on this (safeguarding Malaysia’s image). This has nothing to do with race or religion. The whole of Malaysia is going to be embarrassed.

“The outrageous appointment of Tajuddin has shaken all of us!” she added.

Equally dismayed over Tajuddin’s appointment was DAP lawmaker Teresa Kok, who said the people want to know if there is no other qualified candidate for the post.

Apart from the LRT incident debacle, she also recalled the time when the Umno MP ridiculed her surname in the Dewan Rakyat in 2016.

Tajuddin, who was then a deputy minister, courted flak for referring to her as a “woman with a Kok.”

In the same year, Tajuddin defended Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor over news reports which claimed the then-premier and his family spent US$15 million on holidays, shopping and jewellery.

“(Just) one or two bags, why not? She’s a lady, I know girls like handbags.

Azman Ghani/The Star

“I was told that one of the ways of tackling a girl is buying (her) a handbag,” he had told reporters in Parliament.

Agreeing with former diplomat Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin, who described Tajuddin’s appointment as nothing short of a disaster, Kok said it may also ruin Malaysia and Indonesia’s ties.

“The problem is his background. His improper behaviour and statements make him an unsuitable candidate for a diplomatic position.

“Is the government prepared to deal with the embarrassment if he continues with this behaviour? Are we prepared if it affects the good relations between the two countries?” she added. – Malaysiakini


Earlier reports:

May 18, Bersih: Revoke Tajuddin’s appointment as ambassador to Indonesia

May 18, PM: Indonesia agrees to Tajuddin’s appointment

May 18, Ex-diplomat: Tajuddin’s appointment a ‘disaster’

May 17, MP: PM must explain Tajuddin’s pick to be ambassador to Indonesia

May 17, Tajuddin confirms appoointment as ambassador to Indonesia