KUALA LUMPUR: The appointment of Nazri Aziz as ambassador to the United States was made on the recommendation of former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, says Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The deputy prime minister said Umno had no say in the decision, which was made early last year by the Ismail administration.
“PM9 (Ismail) was the one who suggested Nazri. It (the recommendation) was from the (then) government,” Zahid told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the rural and regional development ministry.
He was replying to a question on whether the party had recommended the former Padang Rengas MP for the role.
However, Zahid said that Nazri was the right person for the job as he could help strengthen diplomatic ties between both countries and help connect Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim with the top leaders in the US government and corporate sector.
Yesterday, Anwar was reported to have said that Nazri was named the ambassador early last year but the US government had taken six months to confirm his appointment.
Anwar also chided those who were trying to create an issue out of the appointment, saying the decision was made early last year.
On Thursday, it was announced that Nazri had been appointed Malaysia’s ambassador to the US.
In a statement, Wisma Putra said the King had presented Nazri and nine other new heads of diplomatic missions with the credentials for their postings during a ceremony at Istana Negara.
Nazri, who had served in various portfolios in the Cabinet from the mid-1990s until 2018, was previously linked to the post of ambassador to Switzerland, though this was reportedly turned down by the Swiss government.
His appointment was criticised by ex-diplomats like Noor Farida Ariffin and Dennis Ignatius, who said that it deprived career diplomats of the opportunity to represent the country.
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