Ex-diplomats criticise Nazri’s appointment as envoy to US

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The appointment of former Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s appointment as Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States has been met with criticism from two ex-diplomats.

Former envoys, Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin and Dennis Ignatius have expressed their disappointment with the government’s decision to appoint Nazri to the position.

Noor Farida, the former ambassador to the Netherlands described the move as a “very bad judgement” on the part of the prime minister.

“It’s not fair to career diplomats when they are denied the opportunity to be promoted to an ambassadorship,” FMT quoted her as saying.

Yusof Mat Isa

She added that this move was “demoralising” to career diplomats who could be more suitable and better qualified for the position.

Wisma Putra, in a statement yesterday announced that the former Padang Rengas member of parliament had been presented with the letter of credence by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong along with nine other new heads of diplomatic missions.

They were presented with their appointment letters in a ceremony at Istana Negara yesterday.

Ignatius, a former Malaysian high commissioner to Canada, responded succinctly by saying: “Day by day, the PM (Anwar Ibrahim) disappoints.”

Meanwhile, former Foreign Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said Nazri’s appointment is not unusual, pointing out that politicians such as the late deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman and former Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique have previously served as Malaysian ambassadors to the US.

However, he acknowledged that, unlike in the West, the appointment of Malaysian politicians as diplomats would cause a stir and become a source of controversy.

“In the West, politicians are often appointed envoys. The government of the day must be allowed to decide (on the appointment of envoys).”

The government faced opposition from MPs last year over plans to appoint former Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as the ambassador to Indonesia.

His appointment was subsequently cancelled. – NST