PETALING JAYA: Two former diplomats have criticised Putrajaya’s decision to appoint Umno’s Nazri Aziz as the ambassador to the US.
Noor Farida Ariffin and Dennis Ignatius described Nazri’s appointment as disappointing.
“It’s not fair to career diplomats when they are denied the opportunity to be promoted to an ambassadorship,” Noor Farida, the former ambassador to the Netherlands, told FMT.
“I think it’s bad judgment on the part of the prime minister to nominate Nazri as our ambassador to the US.”
She said the move was demoralising to career diplomats who might be better qualified for the post.
Yesterday, the foreign ministry said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong presented Nazri and nine other new heads of diplomatic missions with their credential letters.
Nazri had been linked to the ambassador’s post in the US and Switzerland during the previous administration.
Ignatius, a former Malaysian high commissioner to Canada, in a terse response said: “Day by day, the PM (Anwar Ibrahim) disappoints.”
Meanwhile, former foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar said Nazri’s appointment was not unusual.
He said that in the past, politicians, including Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman and Zulhasnan Rafique, served as Malaysian ambassadors to the US.
However, he said unlike in the West, the appointment of a Malaysian politician as an envoy would spark controversy.
“In the West, politicians are often appointed envoys. The government of the day must be allowed to decide (on the appointment of envoys),” he said.
Last year, Putrajaya faced pressure from opposition MPs over plans to appoint another politician, former Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, as ambassador to Indonesia.
His appointment was subsequently cancelled.