Foreign policy riles up Saifuddin and Anifah

Anifah Aman (left) urged his successor Saifuddin Abdullah to take his time and learn from the foreign ministry officers.

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and his predecessor Anifah Aman today hit out at each other over the country’s foreign policies, after Anifah questioned Saifuddin’s knowledge on the subject.

Anifah questioned Saifuddin’s statement that Malaysia’s foreign policy should be framed around Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

“You are at a point of insulting Malaysia, including the new government,” Anifah, now an independent MP, told Saifuddin.

“Like we have never raised or got ourselves involved in global issues before. We are part of OIC, NAM, and others,” he said, referring to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Anifah reminded Saifuddin that Malaysia’s foreign policies could not be changed just because there was a new minister in charge of the foreign affairs portfolio.

“I want to state that the ‘new’ is only the minister. The policies have been there. It’s as if there were no policies before.

“My advice is to take your time and learn from able officers,” he said.

He added that Malaysia had been part of the UN Security Council before, and there was nothing new about speaking up on international issues.

“I have been to Gaza and Myanmar. I went to Geneva to talk on human rights. I have been to over 70 countries.

“Sit down and look at our participation. Wisma Putra can give you a good briefing.”

Saifuddin later shot back, saying Anifah did not understand his statement.

He said he did not call for new policies but a new framework on improving current policies.

“If some don’t understand, they need to go to school. We need a new framework, we need to have an official document, not just slides or collection done through consultation with officers,” he said.